Arizona Cardinals can still add starting center during free agency
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals front office can still fill a glaring hole in the team's starting lineup with a free-agent center.
The Arizona Cardinals entered the current offseason with a pronounced hole at the center position. Rodney Hudson, the squad's starter, is set to retire after missing 13 games in 2022. Billy Price, the veteran who replaced Hudson last year, is an unrestricted free agent who is not expected to return.
At the moment, there's no legitimate center on the Cards roster. Hjalte Froholdt, a free-agent addition, has logged a limited amount of playing time at the spot. That's all well and good, but better options are still available if Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort would only look.
Ben Jones, a 33-year old Pro Bowler from the Tennessee Titans, is still looking for work. The 6 foot 3, 308 pounder entered the league back in 2012, and has 151 starts on his NFL resume. Having spent the past three years (2020-22) as Tennessee's Director of player personnel, could Ossenfort convince Jones to be the anchor of the Cardinals offensive line in 2023?
A solid starter at center is missing from the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals
Another intriguing possibility is Connor McGovern, a 29-year-old from the New York Jets. The 6 foot 4, 306 pounder, who spent the past three campaigns in the "Big Apple", started his career back in 2017 with the Denver Broncos. McGovern has appeared in 95 professional contests, and has been credited with 84 starts.
Pat Elflein, a 28-year-old who missed 19 matchups over the past two seasons, was released by the Carolina Panthers back on March 14th. If healthy, the 6 foot 3, 303 pounder could serve as an outstanding first-string center for the Redbirds. Elflein has logged 64 starts during a pro career that began with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2017.
The lack of concern that Ossenfort and company have shown towards the center position is a bit alarming. Every other slot along the Cards' offensive line appears to be filled. A chance to address the issue still remains, but time is running out on a free-agent solution for the problem.
(Information provided by Pro Football Reference)