The Arizona Cardinals offensive line has held up quite well through the first eight weeks of the 2023 campaign. Newly-acquired center Hjalte Froholdt and right guard Will Hernandez have meshed well together on the line's interior. Longtime Redbirds left tackle D.J. Humphries has struggled at times, but rookie right tackle Paris Johnson Jr. has future Pro Bowler written all over him.
Unfortunately, the Cards blocking unit does possess an Achilles heel. Throughout the season, the left guard post has been pretty much a disaster. A trio of veterans were assembled to assume the position, but it's obvious that Ossenfort and company severely overestimated the candidates who were brought in to compete for the job.
The opening-day starter at the spot was Elijah Wilkinson, a journeyman who has spent time with four different organizations. The 28-year-old was a disappointment during his six starts for the Cardinals until a neck injury knocked him out of the lineup. The two alternatives, Trystan Colon and Dennis Daley, have also been nothing to write home about.
Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort is going to have his work cut out for him next offseason, when he attempts to bring in some top-notch reinforcements for the club's talent-starved roster. Finding a solution for what is currently a glaring problem on the offensive line will certainly be a priority. The 2024 free-agent signing period could be utilized to tackle that task, when Ossenfort could have his pick of several left guards who'll be searching for employment.
Free agency will feature a solid group of left guards for the Arizona Cardinals to choose from next offseason
One of next year's most intriguing free-agent options is Connor Williams, a 26-year-old who has spent the last two campaigns with the Miami Dolphins. During his first four seasons in the NFL, the 6 foot 5, 312 pounder started 51 matchups at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys. Williams is an outstanding blocker who would bring both know-how and experience to the Arizona offense.
From 2019-22, Dalton Risner logged quality 62 starts for the Denver Broncos. With such a quality resume in his possession, it was somewhat surprising when the 28-year-old didn't sign his one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings until September 19th. Risner did tear the UCL in his right elbow last January while playing for Denver, but the six appearances he has made with the Vikings this fall indicates that he is now fully healthy.
Andrus Peat, a mammoth specimen of a man who hails from Mesa, Arizona, is another blocker that Ossenfort could make a play for in 2024. The 6 foot 7, 316 pounder has spent his entire pro career with the New Orleans Saints, and has been credited with an impressive 93 starts. Peat's father Todd was a one-time Cardinals guard who spent three years with the franchise back in the late 1980's.
Another vastly experienced lineman who the Cards could consider is Graham Glasgow, a former third-round draft selection of the Detroit Lions. The 6 foot 5, 315 pounder has dressed for 107 professional contests, and has amassed an eye-popping 97 starts. The 31-year-old Glasgow returned to the "Motor City" this season following a three-campaign stint with the Broncos.
One more free-agent option who could pique Arizona's interest is Matt Feiler, a versatile 6 foot 6, 330 pounder who played his college ball at tiny Bloomsburg University. The Pennsylvania native has been pressed into action at both guard and tackle since he came to the league back in 2017. During stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 31-year-old Feiler has accumulated 79 career starts.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)