As the NFL playoffs continue, the Arizona Cardinals front office is busy identifying which position groups to target in free agency and the draft, and pending free agents to keep, and not to keep. There will be quite a few potential catastrophes that general manager Monti Ossenfort and his front office could fall into, however, and they must avoid them at all costs if they plan on fielding a halfway decent team in 2024.
Last year, it was perfectly acceptable to save as opposed to spending, but Ossenfort should identify position groups he’d be better off addressing in free agency, even if he can land a solid draft pick at that same position in the process. He also needs to hold on to every one of his selections on Days 1 and 2 of the big event.
Finally, he must bring back the right pending free agents, as doing so means retaining veteran talent who know the systems in place and help the team in 2024.
3 catastrophes that can sink the Arizona Cardinals offseason
1 - Neglecting the cornerback position (again)
Since the latter days of the Steve Keim era, and really since before Patrick Peterson left a few years back, it seems like the Cardinals front office has neglected the cornerback position in every single offseason. Sure, selecting a pair of potential long-term fixtures in last year’s draft was a good start for Monti Ossenfort, but we also saw what happened when he did not bring in an established veteran.
While I fully endorse bringing back Antonio Hamilton given his solid but under-the-radar 2023 campaign, he’s not enough. I’m also not a fan of building teams via free agency even with a large amount of cap space unless those incoming free agents are younger players who showed elsewhere that they could be good system fits, but we’re making an exception at cornerback.
Even an older pending free agent like Steven Nelson, for example, would work here because the Cardinals cannot afford another 2024 season with such a bad passing defense. Throw age out the window, look for someone who can mesh with Nick Rallis’ system, and bring them in, even if it’s on a one-year deal.