Cardinals look to improve run defense with defensive tackle signing

Arizona addresses a much needed help for their run defense.
Defensive Tackle, Bilal Nichols
Defensive Tackle, Bilal Nichols / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Around an hour after the Arizona Cardinals made their first big signing of free agency with the signing of cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, general manager Monti Ossenfort addressed another key area of concern for Arizona.

Former Bears and Raiders defensive tackle Bilal Nichols has agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Cardinals, with $14 million of this contract will be guaranteed over the next three seasons. 

In 17 games with Las Vegas last season, Nichols recorded 48 tackles with 25 of the tackles coming by his lonesome. The former fifth-rounder has proven to be a consistent option for both the Bears and Raiders playing 94 games in his six seasons in the NFL.

At the age of 27, Nichols could be both a consistent member of the lineup while also playing the mentor role to a young interior defender that many believe the Cardinals will take in the upcoming draft.

With a 6’4” 313 lbs frame, Nichols is a physical presence on the defensive line and utilizes aggressive hands and open eyes in the back field to disrupt opposing run games. Nichols shows a great ability to anchor into his legs and utilize his bullrush moves to eat up blocks and open up the second level to fill run gaps.

Ossenfort has shown in just a few hours into the opening of the legal tampering period that he plans on addressing the areas of concern with the defense. With the signing of cornerback Murphy-Bunting and now Nichols, Ossenfort is showing that improving one of the league's worst defenses in 2023 is paramount this offseason.

According to, Arizona has a little over $56 million in cap space which gives Ossenfort a little bit of monetary freedom this offseason. Giving Nichols $14 million is a price tag that is needed for immediate impact. If not, this signing oculd prove to be a little pricey for a interior defender. With numerous holes to fill this offseason, the Cardinals need to be sure that Nichols will single-handedly improve the Arizona defense.