The Arizona Cardinals are one of the hottest up and coming teams in the NFL. Led by 2nd year QB Kyler Murray and HC Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals are currently 6-4 and competing to win the NFC West. The future is bright for the young squad, but there are some holes that will need to be addressed. The Cardinals are currently projected to have $25 million in cap space for next offseason per spotrac.com (15th in the league.) This number will likely rise with cuts and reconstructed contracts, but for now, lets examine some holes Arizona could fill this offseason:
Resignings: CB Patrick Peterson, TE Dan Arnold, LB Haason Reddick, WR Larry Fitzgerald, LB Markus Golden, S Chris Banjo, RT Kelvin Beachum, LB Dennis Gardeck, WR Trent Sherfield, S Charles Washington, K Zane Gonzalez, P Andy Lee
Arizona has a lot of free agents this upcoming offseason, and will be forced to make some difficult decisions. Obviously, a lot of these players being resigned is contingent on how they finish out the season, but the first 8 should be big priorities for the team. Arizona will have 0 outside corners under contract after this season, and Patrick Peterson will almost certainly be the top corner on the market. Arizona should aim to keep him despite some disappointing moments so far this season. Although if he asks for too much money, Arizona may have to part ways with their shutdown corner of nearly 10 years. Arnold, Reddick, Beachum, and Golden have all exceeded expectations so far in the year and all should be resigned. Banjo, Gardeck, Sherfield, and Washington are all primarily special team players, but all have performed nicely when forced to fill into primary positions due to injury. Gonzalez and Lee are both some of the more consistent kickers in the league and should be kept, barring an extreme cold streak.
Larry Fitzgerald is a very interesting case. Fitzgerald has spent his entire career in Arizona and has made it clear he will not play anywhere else. However, there is one clear barrier to resigning him. He has also made it clear he will not play for less than the $11 million figure he has been paid the past 6 seasons. Yes, Larry has taken pay cuts at various points in his career, but he is also the highest payed non-QB of all time. He is currently the 20th highest payed receiver in the league but is 85th in receiving yards, 134th in yards per catch, and has yet to record a touchdown this season. Fitzgerald is my personal favorite all time player, but overpaying a player who is currently playing a WR3 role is not in Arizona’s best interest if they look to push for a championship.
CB Desmond King
King was recently dealt from the Chargers to the Titans, and the former all pro has exceeded in the new environment. He had 2 PDs in his last game against the Ravens, and would fit in nicely to an Arizona team that desperately needs CB help.
DL Shelby Harris
Harris was one of my personal targets for Arizona last offseason, and although he ultimately decided to stay in Denver, he has been quietly having a good season. He has 2.5 sacks and 23 tackles as an interior defensive lineman, along with 3 PDs. He would fit nicely into Arizona’s scheme, and previously played with current Cardinals DC Vance Joseph in Denver.
DL Ndamukong Suh
Suh has been around the league and has received his fair share of publicity, for both positive and negative reasons. But the fact remains that he will likely be the best defensive linemen on the market this offseason. Arizona is in desperate need of D-Line help, especially with the likely departure of longtime NT Corey Peters.
WR Keelan Cole
Arizona has been in need of a true return specialist all season. They have constantly flipped between using WR Andy Isabella, WR Christian Kirk, and RB Chase Edmonds on returns, but through 10 games have not gotten a dynamic return from any of them yet, much less a TD. Keelan Cole could fill the role of an explosive return man nicely and add WR depth. Cole is averaging 26 yards per return on kickoffs and 15 yards per return on punts, and has a punt return touchdown. He also has the speed to fit into Arizona’s passing scheme.
Photo Credit: Ben Margot / USA Today