The retirement of the veteran starter could prompt the Arizona Cardinals to look somewhere else for an accomplished center.
The beginning of training camp is now less than three weeks away, and the Arizona Cardinals still don't have a legitimate starter at center. Hjalte Froholdt appears to be the top candidate for the gig, but that's kind of a scary proposition. It's hard to believe that the Redbirds would roll with someone who has been credited with just four NFL starts at such a crucial position.
There was proof that Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort was actually aware of the problem when free agent Chase Roullier was brought in for a tryout last month. With 63 starts for the Washington Commanders under his belt, the capable veteran would've been a huge upgrade over Froholdt. Any hopes of acquiring the 29-year-old veteran were dashed, however, when Roullier opted for an early retirement.
While missing out on Roullier is certainly disappointing, all hope is not lost for the Cards. It just so happens that there are two intriguing options remaining on the free-agent market. Actually, it's somewhat surprising that both of these talented blockers are still searching for employment.
Ben Jones, a 12th-year pro from the Tennessee Titans, would be a fantastic fit with Arizona. That's especially true when you consider that Ossenfort was Tennessee's director of player personnel for the past three years. It stands to reason that the Cardinals GM would have interest in an accomplished center who he's obviously familiar with.
Ben Jones and Pat Elflein are two viable centers who the Arizona Cardinals should be taking a look at
Since he was drafted by the Houston Texans back in 2012, Jones has been credited with an eye-popping 151 starts. The Alabama native is no spring chicken at 34 years of age, but surely the Cards could squeeze at least one more solid season out of a lineman who's fresh off of a Pro Bowl performance.
Another free-agent center who Arizona's front office should certainly be kicking the tires on is Pat Elflein, a former third-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings. The 29-year-old was cut by the Carolina Panthers this past March, and there really hasn't been any mention of him since. What could be the reason for the lukewarm interest in Elflein?
A poor injury history is more than likely scaring some teams away from Elflein. Last fall, a hip injury limited the 6 foot 3, 303 pounder to just six starts at guard. As Carolina's starting center back in 2021, Elflein missed eight matchups because of a torn hamstring.
Even so, Ossenfort and his cohorts should be intrigued by Elflein's 37 career starts at center. That's a whole lot more experience than Froholdt has as the anchor of an offensive line. It seems inevitable that the Cardinals will acquire either Jones or Elflein before the 2023 campaign kicks off in September.