Top 5 players the Arizona Cardinals absolutely must re-sign for 2023

Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) against the New England Patriots at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) against the New England Patriots at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

A rebuild in some capacity is in order for the Arizona Cardinals. But there are plenty of players they must bring back. Here are the top five. 

The Arizona Cardinals are 4-11 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. With just two games remaining in what has been a lost year, many fans are turning to the offseason. We will see a good deal of roster turnover, but there will also be a few players the Redbirds will elect to keep for 2023.

Below, I  have listed five players they absolutely must try to re-sign for the following season. Who do I got for you? Keep reading for more.

1 – Zach Allen

Allen hasn’t exactly been a Pro Bowler, but he has also been one of the most consistent contributors on the Arizona Cardinals this season. In 13 appearances, Allen has 5.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss, and eight pass deflections.

Overall, he has been the second-best pass rusher on the team next to the resurgent J.J. Watt, and he also improved every year since his rookie season in 2019. Allen will never put up Pro Bowl numbers, but he is the kind of player who will help you win games.

2 – Byron Murphy Jr.

Murphy is one player the Cardinals may refrain from re-signing because of his back issues. However, he has shown enough to warrant a bridge deal, and if he’s willing to settle for a two-year contract, Murphy will have a chance to show he is worthy of something long-term.

He also hasn’t been great this year, having allowed a 103.1 passer rating and four touchdowns. However, Murphy’s performance also hasn’t fallen into the doldrums. He gave up a career low 63.8% completion percentage, 9.4 yards per reception, and 6.0 yards per target. In short the Redbirds need to at least explore keeping Murphy.

3 – Greg Dortch

I wouldn’t blame Greg Dortch in the slightest if he wanted to continue his career elsewhere, given the way Kliff Kingsbury overlooked the smallish receiver. However, Dortch has more than shown enough to get a chance to become the Arizona Cardinals top man in the slot.

He has 44 catches on 50 targets this season, 422 yards, and two touchdown receptions. Further, when Dortch plays at least 80% of the offensive snaps, he has been arguably the most productive player on the field this year. Dortch has also shown he can stay healthier than a similar player on the team, Rondale Moore.

4 – Antonio Hamilton

Hamilton is one of those players who makes for a great insurance policy for the Arizona Cardinals. Slated to be the CB2 this year, a freak accident kept him from playing a portion of the season, but he posted solid numbers since returning.

In 10 appearances, Hamilton allowed 29 catches on 44 targets, but his yards per completion allowed sit at just 10.0, while his yards per target stand at 6.6. He also allowed just an 82.5 passer rating. If for any reason the Redbirds don’t address cornerback in the offseason, Hamilton makes for a fair nickelback or dimeback.

5 – J.J. Watt

The Arizona Cardinals figure to and should rebuild to an extent for 2023, but that doesn’t mean they need to shed their entire roster of seasoned veterans. J.J. Watt is one player who can still produce at a high level, and he will serve as a tremendous mentor to younger players, so paying him some extra cash isn’t necessarily a bad thing here.

Murphy may not be returning to the Arizona Cardinals after all. light. Must Read

Watt has played in 14 games this season, and he logged 9.5 sacks, 21 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss, 6 deflected passes, and a forced fumble. Overall, he has been all over the field this season, and a big reason the Cardinals defense was at least halfway decent at times.

Update: Watt announced his retirement on December 27th, 2022. 

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)

Article Source: Whoever ends up running Arizona Cardinals’ front office will have hands full in free agency by Bob McManaman

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