Cardinals will likely turn attention to 2nd-tier free agents

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Cardinals appear to be waiting for the free-agent prices to go down before they start adding to their 2022 roster.

When the NFL’s “legal tampering” period got underway last Monday, the Arizona Cardinals got right down to business.

While many of the league’s franchises began to steal from other teams, the Cards set their sights on their own free agents. Over the past week, general manager Steve Keim prevented familiar names like James Conner, Zach Ertz, Andy Lee, Colt McCoy, Dennis Gardeck, Maxx Williams, Michael Dogbe, and Aaron Brewer from getting out of town.

Actually, Arizona did acquire one player who wasn’t with the squad last season. Jeff Gladney, a former Minnesota Vikings cornerback who was out of football in 2021, inked a two-year deal with the Redbirds on Wednesday. Domestic assault allegations put the 25-year-old’s career in jeopardy last year, but Gladney was found not guilty of all charges earlier this month.

Now that a whole bunch of premier free agents have already found new homes, what’s the next order of business for the Cardinals front office?

Arizona Cardinals will likely address their needs with lower-priced free agents 

Quite simply, the Cards didn’t enter the 2022 offseason with a large amount of salary-cap space. Conner and Ertz ate up most of their money after the organization elected to make bringing them back a priority. Despite the cost, you probably won’t find many members of the “Red Sea” who aren’t happy that the productive pair was retained.

There’s no doubt that top-tier free agents like Allen Robinson, Von Miller, Brandon Scherff, and J.C. Jackson would’ve looked fantastic in Cardinal red. But when it came down to it, Keim and company just weren’t going to get into bidding wars with the franchises who landed those studs.

In the coming weeks, a much more affordable phase of free agency will go into effect. There is still a ton of talent still out there looking for employment. The longer that such players linger on the open market, the more the asking price for those job seekers could come down.

And that’s when Keim will pounce, reeling in those veterans with the “prove-it” contracts that’s he’s had success with in the past. Sure, Arizona missed out on a plethora of difference-making performers. But if we can just be patient, the Cards still have time to fill the holes in their roster with some quality individuals.

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