Predicting the fate of 5 pending free agent Cardinals in 2025

Will we see any of these Cardinals players back in Arizona beyond 2024?
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Before we know it, the 2024 season will be kicking off which will then have fans looking into the future for various pending free agents in the 2025 offseason. The Arizona Cardinals have a great amount of pending free agents for the 2025 offseason which include some of their best players on the roster. According to, the Cardinals have $35.5 million in cap space and have over $88 million next offseason. Obviously that number should change from until then.

The Cardinals are going to need to make some decisions this upcoming season or after the season concludes about five players that have a great amount of value to the team. Monti Ossenfort has done a great job at building the roster from scratch and his work will be just as busy as this past offseason.

Here we predict the fate of these five pending Cardinals free agents in 2025, deciding whether or not the Cardinals will re-sign them or let them walk in free agency.

WR Zay Jones

Prediction: Re-signs with Cardinals

The Cardinals made a late free agent splash by signing veteran wide receiver Zay Jones to a one-year deal after spending the last two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones adds the veteran presence that the Cardinals’ wide receiver room needed. He is a solid possession receiver who can pick up the yardage to move the chains for a first down. On a prove it deal with the Cardinals, Jones has the chance to not only help this young receiving core develop, but also make some crucial plays to help the Cardinals win some games.

The Cardinals need to make sure that they keep Kyler Murray surrounded with valuable receiving options and if all goes well with Jones, don’t be surprised if he is back in the desert in 2025.

LB Zaven Collins

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

The Cardinals drafted Zaven Collins in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, it was not Monti Ossenfort that drafted him. Going from Kliff Kingsbury to Jonathan Gannon was a good adjustment for Collins and what type of player he can be, but he had a big drop in production in 2023 compared to 2022. Arizona opted to decline Collins’ fifth-year option after the NFL Draft which puts Collins in a contract year this season. Maybe there is a chance that Collins and the Cardinals have a mutual agreement at the end of the season, but players in contract years tend to play their best.

Unless the Cardinals can get Collins on a team-friendly deal, the two sides part ways at the end of the 2024 season.

LB Dennis Gardeck

Prediction: Re-signs with Cardinals

Coming off the best year of his career, Dennis Gardeck showed the Cardinals that he is a valuable player to the defense. He led the team with 6 sacks (career high) and had 46 total tackles in just 8 starts. Gardeck is 29 years old and will be 30 by the start of the season. The Cardinals have a desperate need for creating a pass rush and having Gardeck come off the edge to provide some sort of stability is crucial for Arizona. 

Gardeck is one of the few veterans near the line of scrimmage in this defensive scheme who can serve as a leader in the unit. As long as he performs like he did last season, he should be back in Arizona without questions asked.

RB James Conner

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

While the Cardinals could benefit from Conner’s leadership in this young offense, the NFL is a business at the end of the day. Conner will be 30 years old going into the 2025 season and the Cardinals drafted running back Trey Benson in the third round of the NFL Draft this year. The Cardinals were among the top rushing teams last season which was led by Conner, so this season should be no different if the Cardinals plan to run the ball heavily again. Although that seems unlikely as they will have Kyler Murray back under center with a new number one receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr. 

It was great to see Conner in the desert but the 2024 season is more than likely a farewell year for Conner as he will more than likely be finding a new home next offseason.

S Budda Baker

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

This one is tough because ever since Budda Baker joined the Cardinals in 2017, he has arguably been their best player on the roster for many seasons. He is a safety that no one outside of Arizona talks about and has seen more down seasons than great seasons with the Cardinals. He is in the prime of his career and has many great years left. It is very possible that the Cardinals will look to get a contract extension done with Baker, but it would not be surprising if Baker tests out the free agent market.

As of right now, the Cardinals are not in a position to make a run at the Super Bowl, and Baker could easily be on the chase to getting his first Super Bowl elsewhere.