The Arizona Cardinals must keep Antonio Hamilton around for another year

The Arizona Cardinals have long valued Antonio Hamilton, and the veteran cornerback did not disappoint when given the opportunity in 2023.

Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton Sr. (33)
Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton Sr. (33) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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With the Arizona Cardinals purposefully adding youth to the roster at the expense of the veterans former general manager Steve Keim acquired, one rather underrated name made it through the 2023 season. Antonio Hamilton, who was 30 this past season, looked as though he were heading for a reserve role, but he ended up playing quite often and he was arguably the brightest spot among the Redbirds cornerbacks. 

In 14 games that included nine starts, Hamilton faced a career-high 49 targets, but he allowed a career-low 59.2 completion percentage. While he allowed more yards per completion than he had in his previous two seasons at 11.1 compared to 9.5 in 2021 and 9.4 in 2022, respectively, his yards per target once again landed in the six-yard mark, at 6.6. 

Arizona Cardinals must bring Antonio Hamilton back for another year

Hamilton did give up three touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 90.8, both of which were higher than in 2021 and 2022, but they were still relatively low given how poorly the Cardinals were in passing defense this past year. He also impressed elsewhere, such as snagging his second career interception, and batting away 11 passes. The latter number was more than his previous three seasons combined. 

Although we will see the Arizona Cardinals get even younger for this upcoming offseason, it shouldn’t mean they will get rid of all of their veterans aged 30 and over. Hamilton should be one player to strongly consider keeping around given his performances and overall leadership that the Redbirds will need once again next season. 

If the Cards sign a cornerback in free agency and/or draft one, it still shouldn’t spell the end for Hamilton. It’s likely he won’t see 559 snaps again in such a situation, but the Cards still need depth and Hamilton will provide it. Overall, they would be smart to keep Hamilton around for at least one more campaign and utilize his solid play and veteran leadership. 

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)