Cardinals can find value in some lesser-known free agents

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Alex Erickson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Alex Erickson /

Several free agents who are less than household names could assume a role with the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 campaign.

In less than a week, the Arizona Cardinals front office will embark on an incredibly important NFL Draft. General manager Steve Keim and company have several holes to fill, and there’s no guarantee that the prospects who’ll be brought to the desert will find success at the professional level.

Once the class of 2022 is evaluated, the Cards could then decide to add final reinforcements to the roster. In fact, Keim has made a habit of acquiring help for the roster during the summertime months.

With a limited amount of salary-cap space remaining, Arizona may have to shop for players who won’t be demanding a huge chunk of cash. Free agents who may not necessarily be household names, but could still contribute to the Cardinals during the upcoming season.

Arizona Cardinals could add unheralded free agents in the coming months

At the time of this writing, the Redbirds have done nothing to address the loss of Chandler Jones. Takkarist McKinley, the 26th-overall pick of the 2017 draft, has 20 career sacks in his five pro campaigns. The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder entered the league with the Atlanta Falcons, and he has also spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns.

Former seventh-round draft selection Shamar Stephen has put together a solid stint for himself in the National Football League. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive lineman logged six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and one each with the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. Stephen has 65 starts on his professional resume, and he has amassed 207 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, and five forced fumbles in 115 total appearances.

Return specialist/wide receiver Alex Erickson was employed for five years with the Cincinnati Bengals and spent time with both the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers in 2021. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has averaged 8.1 yards on 158 punt returns and 24.8 yards on 110 kickoff returns during his time in the league. Erickson has also hauled in 96 passes for 1,141 yards and a touchdown in his limited use as a wideout.

Travis Carrie, a former seventh-round draft choice of the Raiders, has made contributions to three different NFL organizations. Besides the time he spent in Oakland, the 6-foot, 204-pounder has suited up for the Browns and Indianapolis Colts as well. Carrie has registered 386 tackles, seven interceptions, 52 pass breakups, and nine fumble recoveries during his eight NFL campaigns.

The Cards will determine what holes still need to be filled following next week’s draft. If the squad remains an unfinished product at the conclusion of the three-day event, there are lesser-known free agents who can help.

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