Free agency has died down and the Cardinals didn't exactly make a big splash. Although they resigned several key players from last year's super bowl run, the only "big" move was signing Bryant McFadden. A lot of the veterans that were brought back were mainly signed to 1-year deals. It's obvious that management wants to keep this core of players together to make another run at a championship. If they are going to succeed this time, they need to fill some important positions on the roster via the draft, and possibly whoever may be left through the free agency crops. Most of the players available are veterans or 2nd string players. Many of the vets fit into the description of the "win now" mantra, by having some gas left in the tank. Let's take a dive into who may be left that can still help the Cardinals
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Although he technically isn't a free agent, it's obvious he wants to be traded, and despite what the Chief's owner is saying, he probably will be. The Cardinals could try to make a move more Gonzalez even though they are pretty deep at the tight end position already. Tony has expressed that he wants to play for another one or two years, and that he wants to make a run for a championship. He can still play at a pro bowl level, evidence being his stats from last year. He would become another threat for the offense and he would surely make Kurt Warner happy. He's a dependable blocker and has the best hands in the game for a tight end. His leadership and knowledge of the game could point the rest of the Cardinals tight ends in the right direction as well.
Bottom Line: He's still one of the best tight ends and would immediately become another threat to the offense.
|2008 - Derrick Brooks||16||0||0||1||-2||0||58||15||73|
The ageless Derrick Brooks has surprisingly not been signed by any team yet. He has reported that there are several teams still interested in him, and that he definitely wants to keep playing. He is a solid leader on the defensive side of the ball, and he would calm the mini-storm of Matt Stewart and Monty Beisel leaving through free agency. Brooks is probably the oldest linebacker around that could out-perform the rest of the Cardinals linebackers. Brooks is a smart linebacker who has already won a championship. He's quick and rarely makes any mental mistakes. Adding Brooks would make the Cardinals line backing corps one of the most experienced toughest groups in the league.
Bottom line: He's up in age but he is a veteran that would bring discipline to the defense.
|2008 - Cato June||16||0||0||1||1||0||49||18||67|
Another former Bucs linebacker, Cato June, was also released through the free agency period. Cato is quick and smart type of linebacker that's already won a Super Bowl before with the Cots in '06. He has what it takes to lead a defense, and can play most aspects of the game. He's a sound tackler and has a good sense of vision. June still has a few above average years left in him and can help in both running and pass defense. He isn't your common household name, but if you want a confident, quick linebacker, then he's your guy.
Bottom Line: He's not a pro bowl linebacker but he's at an age where he has a few good years left.
|2008 - Lorenzo Neal||11||12||25||2.3||2.1||5||0||7||35||3.2||5.0||13||0|
Although he's been in the league for 17 seasons, Neal doesn't seem to age quickly. He still can provide some solid run-support for another year and the Cardinals are in need of a full back. The current full backs on the roster are mainly fit for special teams. With the uncertainty of Terrelle Smith coming back, Neal would be a solid veteran who could improve the running game, and provide decent pass protection for Warner. A perfect example of what Neal has done in the past is his assistance with LT in San Diego and the Ravens running game last season.
Bottom Line: Neal could come at a relatively cheap price and provide reliable run blocking and pass protection.
|2008 - Jason Taylor||12||3.5||29.5||0||0||0||20||8||28|
Taylor was unexpectedly released this off-season due to contract issues with the Washington Redskins organization. His stint in Washington didn't go so well but Taylor still has 2 more years left in him to help a team win a championship. He could fill the void that Antonio Smith left and be the perfect model to build Calais Campbell around. Both are tall defensive ends that have a quick burst off of the edge. Taylor wants to win a championship and would bring a fire to the defensive line. As long as he's not dancing with the stars, he wouldn't bring any off-field issues to the Cardinals, and his veteran leadership would be enough to make the Cardinals defense one of the best in the league.
Bottom Line: He's not the best defensive end in the league anymore but he can still be an assertive force on the defensive line.
Most of the Arizona Cardinals needs are mainly depth, and in the NFL, that's the ideal situation to be in. Regardless, they still need to bring in support for certain areas and if they don't due it through free agency, a solid draft should be all the doctor ordered. Running backs weren't included on the list because we established who's still available a few weeks back, which you can see here.