The Cardinals finished 2022 with an extremely dissapointing 4-13 record. With the offense taking a step back and the defense lacking improvement, Kliff Kingsbury was fired come seasons end. Former General Manager Steve Kiem has also stepped away from the team. With a brand new regime in Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon, the Cardinals will look to make some strides this offseason.
The Cardinals enter the offseason with 35.2 million dollars in cap space.
The Cardinals are 5th in the league in available cap space.
The biggest benefit to a poor season is a high draft pick come draft season. The Cardinals managed to get the 3rd pick in this years draft, slotting them ahead of a lot of QB needy teams.
The Cardinals draft selections are:
Round 1, Pick 3
Round 2, Pick 64
Round 3, Pick 66
Round 3, Pick 96
Round 4, Pick 105
Round 5, Pick 168
Round 6, Pick 180
Round 6, Pick 213
With a decent amount of draft capital and a high first round pick, the Cardinals will have the opportunity to take players who can help them out immediately. After Chicago’s trade to Carolina, Arizona will either draft Will Anderson Jr. at pick 3, or they will trade down to get more draft capital. I highly recommend drafting Will Anderson Jr. in order to give this team the consistent pass rush they have lacked under Kliff Kingsbury.
Cardinals Free Agents
Arizona’s list of potential free agents is much larger than the team would like. Headlined by Cornerback Byron Murphy, the Cardinals will have 30 players hitting the free agent market.
Byron Murphy should be re-signed as he’s only 26 years old and can provide stability for a defense that is about to see a lot of change. Murphy is a must re-sign for Arizona this offseason.
Other players who will hit free agency this week include Chosen Anderson, Rodney Hudson, Justin Pugh, Darrel Williams, and Kelvin Beachum.
Anderson was not at all what the Cardinals had hoped for when trading for him. It’s already been announced he will not be back next season.
Cardinals officially released WR Chosen Robbie Anderson.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2023
As for Hudson, Pugh, and Beachum, all three offensive linemen are over the age of 30 and have more than likely played their last snaps in red and white.
Darrel Williams could see a contract extension, but don’t expect anything long term. I expect Williams either joins a new team or re-signs on a one year deal with Arizona.
With a brand new regime and an aging roster, I imagine the Cardinals will let most of their free agents walk.
Over the last few years the Cardinals have been very quiet in free agency, but with a new regime in place I expect them to get right to work. Arizona’s defense and specifically the front seven struggled playing consistently in 2023. With a plethora of linebackers and linemen available this offseason, the Cardinals will have opportunities to improve.
Former Bill Tremaine Edmunds is available and could be a great pickup for Arizona. However, he will be asking for a hefty amount of money that the Cardinals may not want to pay.
Alternatively, Leighton Vander Esch would be a solid pickup for the Cardinals. Arizona needs a veteran presence at middle linebacker, and Vander Esch could be a sneaky good pickup.
That being said, Arizona doesn’t usually make big splashes in free agency. They could instead opt to pick up Kyzir White, who played on Jonathan Gannon’s defense last season. White is only 26 and could easily continue progressing under the same system.
Also on the defensive side, the Cardinals should try to make a splash in the secondary. Former 49ers’ safety Jimmie Wars could be a name to watch out for.
Offensively, I don’t think Arizona does much this offseason. I expect Arizona uses the draft to focus on rebuilding their aging offense line. Adding veteran depth to the offensive line could help any rookies Arizona brings in.
They may try to bring in another tight end with Zach Ertz coming off knee surgery and approaching 33 years old. Dalton Schultz could be that option for them. However, I truly believe they only sign depth along the offense and focus on drafting good offensive players.
What Will Arizona Do?
As stated prior, Arizona doesn’t tend to make big splashes in free agency. While I’d like to believe the new regime would like to get off to a hot start, Arizona seems to be leaning towards more of a rebuild rather than retooling. With that in mind, I expect that they focus on adding younger additions to the defense that can really help a couple years from now. Philadelphia has a few free agents on the defensive side of the ball, so don’t be surprised if Jonathan Gannon brings those players on board.
A DeAndre Hopkins trade could massively change how Arizona approaches this offseason but for now, expect them to quitely pick up some young free agents that can help this defense progress the next few years.
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