Second-string linebacker quietly had a solid season for the Arizona Cardinals

Veteran Krys Barnes supplied the Arizona Cardinals defense with some worthwhile contributions during his first season in the desert.
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals probably weren't sure about what they were getting when they acquired linebacker Krys Barnes back in March of last year. After all, the veteran had missed 11 games with an ankle injury as a member of the Green Bay Packers in 2022. Would Monti Ossenfort get any type of payback on what looked like just another economical signing by the Cards' first-year general manager?

By the end of the 2023 campaign, Barnes had made it look like Ossenfort knew what he was doing. The still-young 25-year-old provided a competent presence at the position while others like Kyzir White and Josh Woods were injured. As a result of those setbacks, the organization ended up getting a lot more out of Barnes than they ever thought they would.

What really stood out about Barnes' year with the Cardinals was his ability to drop back into coverage. Besides the 55 tackles he contributed, the 6 foot 2, 229 pounder also broke up six passes. Barnes also recorded the one and only interception of his NFL career when he picked off Houston Texans rookie C.J. Stroud back in November.

Arizona Cardinals got their money's worth out of Krys Barnes in 2023

The losses of White and Woods were a huge blow to the Arizona defensive unit. Both players were in the team's starting lineup when the Redbirds kicked off the season against the Washington Commanders back in September. Without Barnes to steady the ship, defensive coordinator Nick Rallis may have been presiding over a total disaster.

Ossenfort was able to acquire Barnes for a pretty fair price as well. According to, the former UCLA product collected a base salary of just $1.01 million last fall. That's quite a bargain for the insurance that Barnes provided for the Cards when White and Woods were sidelined.

Barnes will be vying for a new contract when free agency gets underway in March. Head coach Jonathan Gannon has admitted that the roster could look a whole bunch different next fall. That could turn out to be the case, but Barnes is a defender who the Cardinals front office may want to keep around.


(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)