Arizona Cardinals: Allen rises to 23rd on PFF’s Top 100 free agents
Despite the Arizona Cardinals 4-13 record, defensive end Zach Allen enjoyed a spectacular season and he may generate interest in free agency.
Zach Allen will be a priority for the Arizona Cardinals to re-sign this offseason, hopefully before he tests the free agent market. Over his four seasons, Allen has seen his productivity steadily increase, finishing the 2022 season with 47 combined tackles, 10 for loss, 19 quarterback hits, and 5.5 sacks. He also deflected eight passes, more than his three previous years combined.
While Allen isn’t an elite player, he is a sound run stuffer and is also effective in passing situations. With J.J. Watt heading into retirement, you can also expect Allen to take on an even larger role in 2023 if the Cardinals re-sign him.
Thanks to Allen’s efficacy, PFF has ranked him 23rd in their overall rankings and fifth among defensive linemen. Here is what PFF’s Brad Spielberger had to say regarding Allen:
"“Allen has taken advantage of mentorship from future first-ballot Hall of Famer J.J. Watt early in his career, and he took a big leap in 2022. Allen earned his first run-defense grade above 60.0 and first pass-rush grade above 70.0, with a career-best 35 quarterback pressures and 8.3% pressure rate.“Allen could be a big benefactor of the pending market explosion among interior defenders, though he will land in the second or third tier of the position group.” – via PFF"
Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman will generate a lot of attention
As a team trying to get younger, look for Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort to prioritize re-signing Allen and possibly cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who ranks 42nd on the list. Retaining the likes of Allen and Murphy will keep a young Arizona Cardinals defense intact for whichever head coach and defensive coordinator steps in to oversee the group.
Seeking to retain a talented player like Allen could also be a huge selling point to any head coaching candidate, especially those on the defensive side of the ball. Keeping Allen in the desert could also pay dividends if the Cardinals roll with an edge rusher in the draft, particularly someone like Will Anderson Jr.
With Allen causing potential matchup problems up front, it would free up the likes of Anderson (or any new pass rusher) and improve what was a lackluster Cardinals pass rush this season. If I had to make a prediction right now, it’s that Allen will stay in the desert.
Article Source: 2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Top 100 players set to enter free agency by Brad Spielberger