The Arizona Cardinals are a rebuilding team, and they are also a rebuilding team sorely lacking at both offensive and defensive line.
If there is one consensus many in Arizona Cardinals circles agree on, it’s the fact that the Redbirds need to start their respective rebuild on the line. Right now, they have few pieces to work with, as D.J. Humphries and Josh Jones are the only two viable pieces on offense, while the defensive line is barren.
If Zach Allen returns, there’s at least a little more hope on the d-line. But as it stands, the Cards have several positions to fill on both sides of the ball. And although it remains a fast-paced passing league, games are still won and lost, and probably always will be, in the trenches.
Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage on offense raises the probability that your skill position players will click. Doing so on defense can throw off an offense’s timing and likely overwhelm opponents.
Arizona Cardinals must invest in offensive and defensive line
Fortunately for the Arizona Cardinals, they have enough cap space to add a few viable interior linemen at center and guard. They could also sign a tackle, and allow Jones to play guard.
Defensively, they need to re-sign Zach Allen, who seems to be getting better with each year of experience.They should also make a run at defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who would pay dividends in overseeing the transition in the desert to new head coach Jonathan Gannon’s system.
By investing serious funds into the offensive and defensive lines, the Cardinals can create more than just a patchwork unit. Offensively, they will provide immense protection for quarterbacks, even if the Cards need to roll with a backup while Kyler Murray remains on the mend. An adequate o-line would allow the backup to step in and play mistake-free football.
Further, they would also open multiple lanes for running backs. Suppose the Cards only opt for James Conner and backup Keaontay Ingram in 2023 - you could still see the duo overachieve.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, a guy like Allen would provide a serviceable pass rush and the ability to stop the run. A solid defensive lineman like Javon Hargrave would instantly provide a push, but there are other options in the event he doesn’t sign.
Overall, prioritizing the offensive and defensive lines in free agency will pay massive dividends for the Arizona Cardinals. And it will also let them focus more on the skill positions in the 2023 NFL Draft.