Arizona Cardinals need to sign a premier free agent running back in free agency

Rather than going through the draft, the Cardinals need to consider bringing in a veteran presence in the backfield
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

We are a week away from the new year kicking off in the NFL with free agency. With free agency getting football fans back into football mode, each team across the league will look to improve their team for next season. The Arizona Cardinals are in a great spot for free agency. With over $56 million in cap space along with 13 draft picks, the Cardinals are a destination for players who are looking to get paid.

The Cardinals already have James Conner in the backfield who reached 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career, despite missing 4 games. Going into his last year of his contract in Arizona, the Cardinals will need to start thinking about the future at running back. With the most amount of draft picks out of any team in the NFL, it would be easy to draft a running back that can develop into the offensive scheme under Drew Petzing.

With already a 4-13 record on his resume, head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort need to find a balance of development and proven players to add to their team. With the running back position, it would make more sense to go out in free agency and get a proven back.

Who should the Cardinals pursue?

There are plenty of options at the running back position that the Cardinals can add into their offense. When looking at the free agent market, it is important to factor in money and the scheme that the Cardinals want to have with their run game.

Tony Pollard from the Dallas Cowboys would be a great complimentary back with Conner in 2024. As someone who has had success in the Cowboys' offense, Pollard provides value in the receiving game and would be a go-to guy for Kyler Murray out of the backfield. Per, Pollard's value is over $9 million per year. Maybe it is a lot for a devalued position, but even if it was a two-year deal, it still provides a plan for the immediate future and the Cardinals will still get Pollard in his prime as a pass-catching back.

There is also Devin Singletary, who shined in a prove-it year with the Houston Texans. Singletary set a career high in rushing yards with Houston (898) and 4 touchdowns, while also adding on 193 yards through the air. When Singletary gets in the open field, he becomes a hard player to tackle because he can make a defender miss if they do not time the tackle correctly.

One under-the-radar player that would take pressure off of the Cardinals' offense is A.J. Dillon from the Green Bay Packers. In third-and-short situations, putting Dillon in the backfield would take pressure off of Conner in crucial situations for Arizona to move the chains.