Later on this week, the Arizona Cardinals will assemble for yet another training camp. With a first-year general manager and coaching staff in place, the fanbase has a whole new product to look forward to. Whether the new regime can lead the snakebitten franchise to it's first-ever Super Bowl title remains to be seen.
Despite the optimism, there's not a lot of hope for a winning record this coming fall. There were opportunities to improve the Cardinals roster, but GM Monti Ossenfort has shied away from acquiring difference-making players.
The good news is that Ossenfort still has time to fill some of the team's most-glaring holes. Free agents who, at this point and time, would likely come to the Arizona desert at a discounted price.
It's not too late for the Arizona Cardinals to make some improvements to the club's 2023 roster
Ben Jones, a 34-year-old center from the Tennessee Titans, is still available. The 6 foot 3, 308 pounder has 151 starts on his NFL resume, and was a Pro Bowler just last season. Is there anyone out there who doesn't believe that Jones would be a huge upgrade over the woefully inexperienced Hjalte Froholdt?
The Cards are in dire need of a bona fide pass rusher at the present time, and 28-year-old Yannick Ngakoue could solve that problem. Just last fall, the 6 foot 2, 246 pounder registered 9.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits for the Indianapolis Colts defense. Ngakoue would pose a legitimate threat to opposing offenses, and at the same time serve as a mentor for the Redbirds' young stable of edge-rushers.
As it stands at the moment, Arizona's rushing attack is basically one James Conner injury away from a complete catastrophe at running back. Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing is well aware of what Kareem Hunt is capable of from the three campaigns they spent together with the Cleveland Browns. The 27-year-old Hunt has been a fantastic complement to Browns ball-carrier Nick Chubb, and could do the same for a bruising back like Conner.
If the season got underway today, Marco Wilson and Antonio Hamilton Sr. would likely be the starting cornerbacks for the Cardinals. William Jackson, a 30-year-old with 51 pass breakups under his belt, would be an outstanding addition. The 6 foot,190 pounder is said to be fully recovered from the back issues that cost him 13 games in 2022.
One last free agent who the Cards could pursue is Akiem Hicks, a 33-year-old run-stuffer who was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. It's no secret that "Big Red" has one sorry collection of defensive linemen at the present time. Hicks could add a well-known presence to the front wall of the Arizona defense in 2023.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)