The special teams unit of the Arizona Cardinals could potentially be headed towards some considerable reconstruction in 2023.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Arizona Cardinals organization is undergoing an enormous amount of change in 2023. Monti Ossenfort is the club’s new general manager, and the club could also name a replacement for departed head coach Kliff Kingsbury in a matter of hours.
The product on the field could also look much different for the Cards when a new season gets underway in September. A complete revamping of the team’s special teams unit could lie ahead. It’s also possible that Jeff Rodgers, the man who has presided over the group since 2018, could also be handed his walking papers.
Free agency is just a month away, and the three prominent components of Arizona’s special teams contingent will be vying for new deals. Placekicker Matt Prater, punter Andy Lee, and longsnapper Aaron Brewer could potentially be moving on. Unless, of course, the Cardinals make any or all members of that trio an offer that they can’t refuse.
Prater is coming off of an excellent campaign with the Redbirds this past fall. The 16-year veteran banged home 22 of his 25 field goal tries, and 17 out of his 18 extra-point attempts.
The 40-year-old Lee ranked 16th-overall in the NFL this past season, when he averaged 47.1 yards per punt. Brewer remained one of the most dependable longsnappers in the league, until a torn pectoral muscle landed him on the injured-reserve list following a Week 16 loss to the New England Patriots.
Arizona Cardinals could look for special teams alternatives in 2023
There’s also speculation that the Cards are interested in bringing New York Jets special teams boss Brant Boyer to the desert. If that occurs, Rodgers’ five-year stint with Big Red could quite possibly be coming to an end.
Arizona could very well attempt to move on from Prater this year, despite the fact that the 38-year-old is fresh off of an outstanding performance. The hip ailment that sidelined the Ohio native for four games could be a concern. Possible free agent alternatives to Prater include talented kickers like Matt Gay, Robbie Gould, Mason Crosby and Greg Joseph.
Lee could also be jettisoned for a free-agent punter such as Sam Martin, Jamie Gillan, Thomas Morstead, or Bradley Pinion. Four potential alternatives to Brewer include Clark Harris, Patrick Scales, J.J. Jansen, and Morgan Cox.
The Cardinals could look a whole lot different in ’23, both on and off the field. Special teams is just one area of the roster that could potentially be placed under reconstruction.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)
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