Cardinals are a top-tier CB away from a dominating secondary

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore /

The Arizona Cardinals are just an elite cornerback away from possessing one of the most formidable secondaries in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals are well aware that an elite secondary is a necessity in today’s pass-happy NFL. With the start of the league year now just hours away, the squad currently falls exactly 25 percent short of possessing such a coveted unit.

At the moment, the Cards find themselves just one top-tier cornerback short of owning a defensive backfield that would rank among the best in professional football. Achieving such a goal sits right at the fingertips of Steve Keim, as Arizona’s general manager prepares to turn up the heat on the 2022 offseason.

One of the main strengths of the Cardinals these days is the squad’s starting safety duo. Budda Baker is a sixth-year veteran who has already been voted to four Pro Bowls. Jalen Thompson is a 23-year-old whose 121 tackles led the team in 2021.

Despite flashing the skills of an above-average cover guy at times, fourth-year pro Byron Murphy was a bit out of place as the Redbirds’ number-one corner last fall. That being said, it appears that the 24-year-old could absolutely thrive for the Cards in a number-two role.

Landing a top-tier corner should be a priority of the Arizona Cardinals in 2022

Keim will likely have to work some magic to acquire a five-star cornerback before the regular season gets underway next September. It could be a tough task, considering the fact that Arizona has an extremely limited amount of salary-cap room to work with at the present time. Finances are certainly an obstacle, but the savvy front offices of the NFL always find a way to create money under the cap when they really need it.

The grand prize among this year’s crop of free-agent cover guys was J.C. Jackson, the 26-year-old stud who spent the past four campaigns with the New England Patriots. However, he’s expected to sign with the Los Angeles Chargers when the new league year begins on Wednesday.

Another attractive option who’s projected to hit the market is Stephon Gilmore, a five-time Pro Bowler who played for the Carolina Panthers last season.

Of course, a trade for a premier corner is also a possibility. The good news is the Cardinals have 75 percent of one of the league’s most formidable secondaries already in place. It’s now up to Keim to add that one final piece.

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