The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a season to forget. They finished 4-13 and in last place in the NFC West. The 2023 season could get out of hand early. Starting quarterback Kyler Murray is likely to miss the start of the year due to his injury recovery, and they will have a new head coach at the helm in Jonathan Gannon. As the team heads into the offseason, here is an overview of their positional needs.
Cardinals free agency preview
Positional needs: CB, backup QB, G, EDGE, backup RB, T, DT
There are plenty of positional needs for Arizona to address in free agency. They are currently set to lose Byron Murphy, Antonio Hamilton, Jace Whittaker and Josh Jackson from their quarterback room. Murphy is obviously the biggest hit, and they need to do what they can to either retain him or replace him with an equal player.
The offensive line is going to take a big hit and will need work. Right tackle Kelvin Beachum, RG Will Hernandez, C Bill Price, LG Max Garcia, RG Cody Ford and LG Justin Pugh are among the team’s offensive linemen set to hit free agency. Future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt retired, and Zach Allen is a free agent leaving holes on the defensive line too.
Arizona needs to add some depth to the quarterback and running back rooms. We saw what it looked like with no Murray and sometimes no James Conner at the end of the season, and it wasn’t pretty.
Players to target
Murphy is a tough player to replace, and it may take multiple signings to replicate him if the Cardinals can't manage to re-sign him. Some cornerbacks Arizona should look into include James Bradberry, who played 97.5% of defensive snaps for the Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Jackson Sr., who spent last season with the Seattle Seahawks and played 93.6% of snaps. Jackson gives them a youth advantage as they could further develop him while they know exactly what to expect from the resurgent Bradberry.
The Cardinals are likely preparing to play the first four or five games without Murray. They don’t need to spend a pretty penny when trying to bring in a sustainable backup. They can target a guy like Mike White, Teddy Bridgewater, Gardner Minshew or PJ Walker. Similarly, with running back, a faster back with receiving upside would help complement Conner. Jeff Wilson, Kareem Hunt or Jerick McKinnon would fit that bill well.
No matter what else Arizona does, they need to put some money into their offensive line to protect whoever ends up under center. Guys like C Connor McGovern, LG Ben Powers and RT Kaleb McGary need to be on the very tip-top of the team’s wishlist. They need proven talent, so guys like LC Aaron Brewer, RT Jawaan Taylor and RG Dennis Daley will work too.
For the defensive line, the team could target this need in the early part of the draft. Potentially with the third overall pick, as it is likely that either Georgia DT Jalen Carter or Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. will still be there. The team could also look to go after EDGE Lorenzo Carter, DT Jarran Reed or EDGE Yannick Ngakoue in free agency.