The offensive line is one major unit the Arizona Cardinals must fix in March. But there are two players they should retain.
The Arizona Cardinals have several holes along the offensive line. At this point, only D.J. Humphries and Josh Jones are the only returning starters, and the latter only saw nine starts in 17 contests. But the Cards might be able to fix their offensive line woes without needing free agency or the NFL Draft, or at least from a starters’ standpoint.
Per PFF, Kelvin Beachum and Will Hernandez are two linemen in their Top 100, and general manager Monti Ossenfort would do well to consider re-signing the duo. Sure, Beachum is older and may only have a season or two left, but he would bide the Cards time as they seek to rebuild this roster.
Hernandez is younger and could fill one of the two guard spots long-term. Overall, if the Redbirds held onto Beachum and Hernandez, they only need to worry about filling the gaping hole at center, a position that Rodney Hudson never did a decent job anchoring thanks to injuries.
Why the Arizona Cardinals should consider Beachum, Hernandez
For one, with the Cardinals looking to get younger, Beachum would provide veteran leadership on offense. This would become even more important if Arizona traded DeAndre Hopkins.
Beachum, who ranked 73rd on the list, started all 17 games and played in 98% of all offensive snaps. Even more impressive? PFF graded Beachum’s pass blocking grade at 70.0 and his overall grade at 70.6, 33rd out of 81 qualified tackles.
Hernandez, sitting 80th on the list, had a modest 65.4 grade per PFF, but his pass blocking grade clocked in at 79.1, eighth out of 77 qualifying guards. Better yet, his pressure rate sat at an amazing 3.0%.
If the Arizona Cardinals want to protect Kyler Murray or any stopgap effectively, then Ossenfort has two pending UFAs who will do more than a serviceable job in Beachum and Hernandez. Further, re-signing this duo would also give the Cardinals four quality starters on the offensive line, meaning they only need to worry about backups and the center position.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)
Source: 4 Cardinals listed among top 100 2023 free agents by Jess Root, CardsWire.USAToday.com.
Source: 2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Top 100 players set to enter free agency by Brad Spielberger, PFF.com.