The Cardinals can improve substantially at the nose tackle spot
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals defense could get better at the nose tackle position by acquiring one of several attractive free agents
It would be difficult to argue with the fact that the Arizona Cardinals could use some help at the cornerback and edge-rusher positions. While that’s certainly true, there’s another area of the Cards defense that could also use an upgrade.
At the time of this writing, Arizona’s top three nose tackles are Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence and the newly-acquired Antwaun Woods. Take one look at the NFL’s current free agent list and you’ll find several well-respected veterans who would easily win the Redbirds’ starting nose tackle job.
While a minimal amount of salary-cap space may have been a legitimate excuse for the Cards’ lack of spending five months ago, two specific transactions have eliminated that problem. The post-June 1st release of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips freed up $10 million in cap space, while the contract-extension signed by left tackle D.J. Humphries gave the franchise an additional $6.7 million in available funds.
Arizona Cardinals could have their pick of several talented nose tackles
Arizona general manager Steve Keim has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in the past with some late-summertime acquisitions. Signing a top-flight nose tackle sometime in the next couple of weeks would only add to Keim’s impressive track record in that area.
It’s somewhat perplexing that the Cardinals have not at least kicked the tires on Ndamukong Suh, a five-time Pro Bowler who has spent the past three campaigns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Just last season, the 6 foot 4, 313 pound Suh racked up 27 tackles, six sacks and 13 quarterback hits in 17 starts for the Bucs.
Another intriguing possibility for the Cards is Brandon Williams, a 6 foot 1, 336 pounder who has spent his entire nine-year professional career with the Baltimore Ravens. Last fall, the 33-year old Williams registered 35 tackles and knocked down three passes in his 13 starts for the Ravens.
Linval Joseph, a 6 foot 4, 329 pounder, would also be an interesting option. The 33-year old was outstanding over the past couple of seasons, registering 119 tackles and a sack in 30 appearances (28 starts) for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Placing any one of the three individuals mentioned in this piece next to J.J. Watt and Zach Allen on the Arizona defensive line would be fantastic. It’s now up to Keim to make it happen.