Krys Barnes could be the Arizona Cardinals biggest steal of 2023 free agency

Green Bay Packers v Miami Dolphins
Green Bay Packers v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

On Saturday, the Arizona Cardinals signed former Green Bay Packer Krys Barnes to a one-year agreement, and this could turn out to be a steal.

Krys Barnes is young, and he’s enjoyed some moderate production over his first three seasons in the NFL. Despite signing on as an undrafted free agent, Barnes logged 80 and 81 combined tackles, respectively, in 2020 and 2021, and 190 in his career. 

Last season didn’t go as planned for Barnes, as he played in just six games, logging 29 total stops as an ankle injury disrupted his season. Given his immense production, however, as he is one of just three formerly undrafted free agents to log at least 75 tackles in their rookie season between 2000 and 2020, Barnes could be the Cardinals best under-the-radar signing. 

Krys Barnes can do big things with the Arizona Cardinals

Barnes joins a unit that comprises Zaven Collins, Kyzir White, and Isaiah Simmons. If the Cards run a 4-3 defensive scheme, look for Collins, White, Simmons, and Barnes to rotate in and out at linebacker, while Simmons will find himself playing multiple roles in different packages. Given the number of productive players at the position, it’s also clear the Cardinals will, if they stay healthy, continually rotate fresh legs in and out of the game. 

We’ve seen what White and Collins are already capable of doing, with White having experience in Jonathan Gannon’s system during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Simmons also came on strong last season after poor practice habits and a bad performance in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs saw him riding the bench. 

Barnes, given the adversity he’s faced in the league by entering as an undrafted free agent, could be set to make the leap in 2023. Look for the high-motor linebacker to play a lead role in a defense that, despite their immense talent, struggled in multiple facets in 2022 thanks to poor play-calling and game management from former defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph. 

Throughout the offseason, the Cardinals have made several under-the-radar signings, all of whom could play a bigger than expected role in the desert. And Barnes could be the player with the most upside. 

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)

Source: Cardinals agree to 1-year deal with former Packers LB Krys Barnes by Alex Weiner,