Arizona Cardinals offensive line should look much different in 2023
By Jim Koch
When the offseason arrives, the Arizona Cardinals will need to reconstruct an offensive line that has become a major liability.
Slowly but surely, the Arizona Cardinals offensive line has been ravaged by injuries this fall. Center Rodney Hudson, a three-time Pro Bowler, has been sidelined with a bum knee since Week 4. Left guard Justin Pugh is out for the year with a torn ACL, and right guard Will Hernandez has been placed on the injured-reserve list with a strained pectoral muscle.
The replacements for Arizona’s injured blockers have not been great. Former first-round draft pick Billy Price is nowhere near Hudson’s level. Veteran Cody Ford and rookie Lecitus Smith are filling in at the guard spots, but neither has been impressive.
Luckily for the Cardinals, both D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum are solid NFL tackles. The 28-year-old Humphries signed a contract-extension last year that will keep him with the organization through the 2026 campaign. Beachum could very well move on in 2023, but the Redbirds are confident that third-year pro Josh Jones is more than ready to be a starting right tackle.
While the Cards appear to be set at both tackle posts, the interior of the offensive line is going to need a major overhaul. It would not be surprising if Hudson and Pugh retired, while Hernandez could very well be playing elsewhere next season. Who are some of the free agents that general manager Steve Keim could target when the ’23 offseason arrives?
Arizona Cardinals front office will be on the hunt for offensive linemen in 2023
Green Bay Packers guard Elgton Jenkins will be highly coveted when the free agency signing period gets underway next spring. The 26-year-old, a 2020 Pro Bowler, would be an outstanding addition to an Arizona blocking unit that could certainly use his help. Other potential free-agent guard possibilities include Nate Davis, Austin Blythe and Dalton Risner.
New York Jets center Connor McGovern would also look fantastic in a Cardinals uniform. The 29-year-old has been an ironman of sorts, having started 71 games over the past five campaigns during stints with both the Jets and the Denver Broncos. Some additional options at center include Garrett Bradbury, Jon Feliciano and Bradley Bozeman.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Keim is going to have a whole lot of work to do for the Cards when the current season comes to an end. Doing some repair work on a talent-starved offensive line should be at the top of the GM’s priority list.
(Information provided by Pro Football Reference and Spotrac.com)
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