Arizona Cardinals will compete against three former employees in Week 13

A trio of veterans who once played for the Arizona Cardinals organization have moved on to greener pastures with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The Arizona Cardinals organization, like the rest of the NFL, possesses a roster that is constantly changing. In the age of free agency and trades, it's impossible for a professional football franchise to roll with the same squad every year. In just his first year on the job, Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort has already parted ways with various leftovers from the previous regime.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals hierarchy has not always been spot on with their evaluations. Over the years, players who still had something to offer were set free by the team's management. In several instances, Cards castoffs went on to have successful careers with other squads.

This coming Sunday, the Redbirds will take on a Pittsburgh Steelers team that contains three veterans who were once employed in Arizona. Each of the individuals have made worthwhile contributions during their time with the "Black and Gold". Ironically, each member of the threesome produces at spots that just happen to be positions of need for the current version of the Cardinals.

Back in 2021, the Cards felt that it was time to part ways with an eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback. Patrick Peterson, the fifth-overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings. The 6 foot 1, 203 pounder would spend two campaigns with the Vikes before inking a two-year, $14 million deal with Pittsburgh this past March.

Three former employees are out to show the Arizona Cardinals that they made a mistake by letting them go

Peterson has some gas left in the tank, enough so that he would undoubtedly be Arizona's number-one corner at the present time. In his 11 appearances (10 starts) this fall, the 33-year-old has racked up 30 tackles, an interception, and an impressive 10 passes defensed for the playoff-contending Steelers. It's quite obvious that the Cardinals pass defense would be much more stout with the still-effective Peterson roaming the secondary.

A couple of years back, the Cards sent center Mason Cole to the Vikings and received a sixth-round draft choice in return. Just one week before, Arizona's former management group believed that had found an upgrade for the position when they acquired Rodney Hudson from the Las Vegas Raiders. Unfortunately, the 6 foot 2, 315 pound Hudson turned out to be damaged goods, and the franchise was left wondering if they should've held on to Cole instead.

Following a one-season stint with Minnesota, Cole found a permanent home on Pittsburgh's offensive line in 2022. For the past 28 contests, the 27-year-old has been the anchor of the squad's blocking unit. Current Cardinals center Hjalte Froholdt has been fine, but Cole would've been just as good or better for coordinator Drew Petzing's scoring attack.

Not surprisingly, the Cards pass rush has also been an issue in 2023. Markus Golden, a former second-round selection of the organization back in 2015, agreed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract back in May. The 32-year-old has been credited with three sacks and four quarterback hits while being on the field for just 19% of Pittsburgh's defensive snaps this season.

feed

(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference; Salary Information provided by Spotrac.com)