Pro Bowl guard Rodger Saffold could put the finishing touch on an Arizona Cardinals offensive line that is loaded with experience.
Over the past couple of offseasons, the Arizona Cardinals have added both talent and experience to their offensive line. Kelvin Beachum was brought in to be the starter at right tackle in 2020, while center Rodney Hudson was acquired last year to be the anchor of the Cards blocking unit.
With the start of free agency now just hours away, another intriguing lineman has just hit the market. This past Thursday, the Tennessee Titans released Rodger Saffold, a veteran who is fresh off an exceptional performance in 2021. Could Arizona general manager Steve Keim show interest in obtaining the Pro Bowl guard?
Saffold may be exactly what the Cardinals are looking for in a free agent in 2022. The 33-year-old could be an excellent candidate for one of Keim’s patented “prove-it” contracts, the type of deal that has worked so well for the team in the past.
Rodger Saffold spent nine years with a division rival of the Arizona Cardinals
It’s been 12 years since the St. Louis Rams used a second-round draft pick on the massive Saffold. The 33rd-overall selection played his college ball at Indiana University, starting 41 games at left tackle for the Hoosiers.
After nine campaigns with the Rams organization (including three in Los Angeles), Saffold inked a four-year contract with Tennessee in 2019. The deal was worth $44 million, with $22.5 million of it guaranteed. The Titans gained $10.5 million in salary-cap room by parting ways with the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder.
Saffold has made his home at left guard over the past several seasons. At the moment, Justin Pugh is manning that spot for the Cards. However, the 31-year-old is due to count $11.8 million against the cap next fall, a number that is a bit exorbitant for the somewhat mediocre Pugh.
Moving on from Pugh would result in a cap savings of $9.8 million for the Cardinals in ’22. That’s a significant amount of cash, especially for a franchise that has limited funds to work with at the current time.
If Arizona prefers to keep Pugh (with a restructured contract, perhaps), Saffold could also be an option for the squad at right guard. The Ohio native actually has experience at that spot, having logged several starts at that position during his stint with the Rams. Saffold would have to be considered an upgrade over both Josh Jones and Justin Murray, the Cards’ two current candidates for the right guard gig.
The excitement of the free-agent signing period is almost upon us. Add Saffold to the list of available players who could help the Cardinals improve next season.
(Contract numbers courtesy of Spotrac.com unless otherwise stated.)