When the 2023 offseason got underway less than a year ago, it became evident rather quickly that the Arizona Cardinals were going to be tight with their money. Monti Ossenfort, the club's first-year general manager, had a plan. Reconstruct the roster that the previous regime left behind, and try to add as much inexpensive talent as possible.
Ossenfort, to his credit, did incredibly well in that area. The longtime NFL executive brought in several unheralded veterans who managed to make worthwhile contributions to a severely undermanned Cardinals squad. In fact, those particular individuals have a very good chance of remaining with the franchise going forward.
Arizona struck gold back in November when they claimed running back Michael Carter off of the waiver wire. As it turns out, the former New York Jets draft selection turned out to be the perfect complement for starter James Conner. Carter averaged a glowing 6.8 yards per carry for the Cards, and there's every reason to believe that the 24-year-old will take on an even bigger role for the offense this coming year.
The Arizona Cardinals front office plucked talented players off of the scrapheap in 2023
Many eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that Hjalte Froholdt would be the team's starting center. The 27-year-old had the last laugh, however, playing well above expectations during his 17 starts for the Cardinals. Froholdt will count just $2.77 million against the salary cap this year, an absolute bargain for what the Denmark native has done for Arizona's offensive line.
Three weeks ago, tight end Geoff Swaim suffered a calf injury that ended his one and only campaign in the desert. Up until then, the 30-year-old had served as a vital component for the Cards' blocking schemes. Swain also hauled in 10 passes for 94 yards, proving his worth as a dual-threat at the position who Ossenfort would be smart to retain in 2024.
One more uncelebrated move by management occurred back in late September, when Ossenfort decided to take a flier on nose tackle Roy Lopez. The Tempe native ran with the opportunity, representing himself well during his 14 appearances (five starts) for the Cardinals defense. There's little doubt that the club will be looking to upgrade the defensive line this offseason, but Lopez has certainly performed well enough to be a part of the rotation next fall.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference; Salary information provided by Spotrac.com)