Free-agent pass rusher would be great for the Cardinals in 2022

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Emmanuel Ogbah
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Emmanuel Ogbah /

With Chandler Jones set to hit free agency, the Arizona Cardinals can get younger on the edge with former Miami Dolphins pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah.

The Arizona Cardinals will let edge rusher Chandler Jones test the free-agent market barring an impromptu re-signing. If Jones walks, Emmanuel Ogbah makes for a stellar consolation. Like Jones, Ogbah enjoyed a moderately productive 2021 campaign with the Miami Dolphins that saw him tying a career-high nine sacks, nine tackles for loss, and 24 quarterback hits.

No, his numbers weren’t as good as Jones‘ were, who recorded 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and 26 quarterback hits in 2021. But at 28, the Cardinals will get a player well within his prime instead of someone on the decline, like Jones.

While it’s farfetched to think Jones’ career is in decline considering last season’s numbers, they’re a far cry from where he was in 2017 to 2019, when he logged an outrageous 49 sacks in three seasons. With Jones’ numbers resting around what Ogbah produced in Miami, it makes more sense to save a little in cap space and go the younger route.

Ideally, the Cardinals would have traded Jones last offseason and kept Haason Reddick, who broke out with 12.5 sacks. Had the Cardinals gone this direction, they would have gotten a ransom out of Jones. Especially had they traded him to a contending AFC team. Now, he may walk away, and the Cardinals will have received nothing in return.

Emmanuel Ogbah could help Arizona Cardinals replace Chandler Jones

If Jones walks, Ogbah at least would bring much-needed damage control on the edge, where he will lineup on the opposite side of Markus Golden. And best yet, given Ogbah’s near-identical numbers in 2020 and 2021, it shows he is no one-year wonder.

With the Miami Dolphins unlikely to place him under the franchise tag, it means a potential golden opportunity for the Cardinals, where he can pick up where Jones left off at a projected cheaper price. The Cardinals have several options. They can bring back Jones (or even Haason Reddick, for that matter) or go after Ogbah.

But if Jones leaves, it’s best to reload with a proven talent than to take a chance on someone unproven in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if the draft features a deep class at edge rusher.

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