Over eight years have passed since the Arizona Cardinals used a first-round draft pick on offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. After a rough beginning to his career, the 24th-overall selection transformed into a solid left tackle. Humphries has started 89 games in all for "Big Red", and was named a team captain for the fourth-consecutive campaign in 2023.
Unfortunately, Humphries' time in the desert may be winding down. The 6 foot 5, 307 pounder was plain awful during Arizona's Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The salary-cap hit for Humphries is a manageable $12.5 million for this season, but the fact that the number will increase to $22.9 million in both 2024 and 2025 is downright scary.
With the contract set up the way that it is, it's fairly safe to assume that Humphries won't be with the Redbirds next year. Besides the exorbitant strain on the club's salary cap, the veteran is also scheduled to collect an inflated base salary of roughly $15.7 million in both '24 and '25. Based on the disappointing performance by the blocker this fall, the odds are slim that the Cards will want to pay Humphries that amount of money going forward.
Actually, the writing was on the wall for Humphries' departure back in April. With the draft's sixth-overall pick, the Cardinals landed stud offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. The rookie has manned the right tackle position in an impressive way this fall, and the plan is for Johnson to eventually take over for Humphries at the left tackle post.
If Humphries is indeed jettisoned in '24, Arizona will need to find a starting right tackle to pair with Johnson. The organization is expected to have an abundance of salary-cap space to work with, so a top-level addition in free agency is certainly feasible. Who are some of the names that could end up on the wish list of Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort?
Several intriguing free agents could be in play for the Arizona Cardinals at right tackle in 2024
Trent Brown, a current starter at left tackle for the New England Patriots, would be a fantastic addition to the Cardinals blocking unit. The former seventh-round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers has appeared in 94 pro contests, and has logged 90 starts. Brown has been utilized at both right and left tackle during his nine-year career, and that kind of versatility could make him even more appealing to Ossenfort.
Since he turned professional back in 2014, James Hurst has built up an impressive resume as an offensive lineman in the National Football League. The 6 foot 5, 310 pounder has appeared in 141 matchups in stints with the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints. Hurst has also been credited with 86 starts, and would bring a wealth of experience to Arizona's right tackle spot.
On more free agent who could potentially be on the franchise's radar is George Fant, an offensive tackle who has been employed by the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Houston Texans. The former undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky University has suited up for 89 professional matchups, and has 66 starts under his belt. Fant would be a solid pickup for a Cards offensive unit that could headed for good things in '24 and beyond.
(Information provided by Pro Football Reference and Spotrac.com)