The three-time Pro Bowler would bring instant credibility to an Arizona Cardinals pass rush that is chock-full of question marks.
Arizona Cardinals followers were disappointed last December when defensive end J.J. Watt announced that he was retiring from football. That monumental decision by the five-time Pro Bowler essentially stripped the squad of it's number-one pass rusher. Combine that loss with the free-agent departure of Zach Allen, and the franchise suddenly had to deal with the fact that it had lost it's top two sack specialists.
Up until this point, Arizona's front office has done very little to address what has become an undermanned segment of the defense. First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort added unspectacular edge-rusher L.J. Collier back in March. A month later, the Redbirds used a second-round draft pick on LSU linebacker BJ Ojulari.
If the Cardinals really want to solve the problem, a solution does exist. Word has it that Danielle Hunter, a three-time Pro Bowler from the Minnesota Vikings, could be available for the right price. Would Ossenfort dare to come out of his offseason shell and acquire someone who could actually improve the team?
Hunter is fresh off of a Pro Bowl campaign in 2022, so the Cards would be bringing in a player who's in the prime of his career. Last fall, the native of Jamaica racked up 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hits in 17 starts for the Vikings. In his seven NFL seasons, Hunter has been credited with 379 tackles, 71 sacks, 112 quarterback hits, seven forced fumbles and six passes defensed for the Minnesota defensive unit.
Danielle Hunter would instantly upgrade the Arizona Cardinals edge-rushing unit
The 6 foot 5, 263 pound Hunter is in the final year of a $72 million contract-extension he signed back in 2018. A new deal for the former third-round draft selection would obviously come along with the acquisition. "Big Red" has over $23 million in available salary-cap space at the present time, plenty of money to secure a first-rate talent like Hunter.
At the moment, Arizona is counting on youngsters like Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders and Ojulari to provide a pass rush. Expecting anything in that regard out of veterans like Dennis Gardeck, Victor Dimukeje and Collier would not be wise. Hunter, on the other hand, could pretty much be counted on to consistently pressure the opposition's signal-callers if he migrates to the desert.
It's quite obvious that every move being made by Ossenfort and company this year is to make things better beyond this season. The organization has been accused of "tanking" in 2023, and the hierarchy has given us no reason to think that they're not. Adding an intriguing piece like Hunter right now would go a long way in helping the Cardinals to change that unappealing perception.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)