3 Arizona Cardinals nightmare targets in 2023 NFL free agency

Oct 30, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Robert Quinn (98)
Oct 30, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Robert Quinn (98) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have numerous needs on both sides of the ball. But they shouldn’t spend recklessly in free agency.

With so much cap space in free agency, the Arizona Cardinals can realistically look to fill a few holes at key positions. But not all free agent targets are going to be wise. 

And unfortunately for the Redbirds, there may be some undesirable targets on general manager Monti Ossenfort’s shortlist. And a good few of them may come from teams like the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Philadelphia Eagles, all of whom have connections either to him, offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, or head coach Jonathan Gannon. 

So who made this list of undesirables? Here are three key players. 

3 bad free agent targets for the Arizona Cardinals

1 - Jadeveon Clowney, DE

While Jadeveon Clowney is a former number one overall pick, he’s also an aging journeyman. When you are selected first in any draft, you’re expected to remain with the team that picked you for at least a good chunk of your career, but Clowney lasted just five seasons with the Houston Texans before he bounced around the league to Seattle, Tennessee, and finally, Cleveland. 

And while it’s no secret he could be a stopgap along the Arizona Cardinals defensive line, Clowney did little over his last four seasons to warrant that he’s not capable of more than anything except taking up space on the roster. He has just 14 sacks in the last four seasons, and 115 combined tackles. 

Case in point, there are better options out there than Clowney. And following his comments late last season in Cleveland, every NFL team should put a buyer beware tag on the former top pick. 

2 - Taylor Lewan, OT

The Arizona Cardinals have had some horrific luck with aging offensive linemen over the past two seasons, seeing Rodney Hudson and Justin Pugh go down with multiple injuries. Bringing in another aging, injury-prone lineman is the last thing Monti Ossenfort needs, even if he’s familiar with players like Taylor Lewan

And while I’ll concede and say that Lewan can still produce at a high level, consider this: The guy hasn’t made it through a full season since 2017. Over the past three years, he’s played in just 20 of a possible 50 games. Overall, Lewan just isn’t worth the hassle. 

3 - Robert Quinn, DE/OLB

When making up this list, I went over players from the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Philadelphia Eagles, since there are good odds these are three teams Ossenfort may wind up picking up free agents. When it came to the Eagles, there were few pending unrestricted free agents I didn’t like, but Robert Quinn was the only one that Ossenfort should completely steer clear from. 

After the year Quinn had, it wouldn’t surprise me if he retired. Between time in Chicago and Philadelphia in 2022, Quinn logged 10 combined tackles, two tackles behind the line, and one measly sack. This is a stark contrast from 2021, when he posted 18.5 sacks, 49 tackles, 17 for loss, and 22 quarterback hits. 

If you’re the Arizona Cardinals, you look at Quinn and you’ll state, while acknowledging the guy definitely brings knowledge and maturity, he’s far past his prime. Again, it will be surprising if Quinn doesn’t decide to call it quits, and there are a few better options the Cards can snag from the Eagles

Related. Fournette would make a scary one-two combo with James Conner. dark

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)