GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18: Offensive tackle Brandon Keith #72 (C) of the Arizona Cardinals leads teammates off the field following warm ups to the NFL game against the Cleveland Browns at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Our first section of the free agency has come to a close and with that, the community has decided which free agent offensive tackle they would like the Arizona Cardinals to target come March 13. I gave you five different options, most of them being players that you have probably heard of before and possibly a couple that you had not.
Let's look at the results in order after the jump and see why the voting came out the way it did.
The player that fans would least like to see in Cardinal Red next year is Max Starks. 64% of the ROTB community gave him a thumbs down. Due to a variety of injuries, subpar play at the left tackle position and his age, Starks might not be the best fit for Arizona. The Cardinals need a long term solution that can stay upright and Starks certainly does not fill that gap. In case you missed it, here is the full story on Starks.
Coming in fourth place veteran Jeff Backus of the Detroit Lions. Backus has played every single game since being drafted by the Lions, but at the age of 34, he would only be able to provide a stopgap at this juncture in his career. He played pretty well in Motor City last year, but only 56% of the voters would like to see him come to Glendale. Here is the full story on Backus.
Falling smack dab in the middle was Jared Gaither. At 6'9" tall, Gaither is certainly a hulking tackle that can play on either side and be rather effective. However, only 61% of the voters said they would like to see him as a Cardinal, mainly due to injury concerns. He will not come cheap, either, as it looks like the Chargers plan on doing everything in their power to keep him. Here is the details for Gaither.
Winning the silver medal was left tackle Demetrius Bell, currently playing for the Buffalo Bills. The one time seventh round draft pick excels in pass protection, but much like Gaither and Starks, he seems to be constantly injured. Bell will be one of the most coveted free agent tackles this year, so his price will likely be steep. 72% of you would like to see him playing in University of Phoenix stadium eight times per year, believing the Cardinals should seek out his services. Here are some of the stats on Bell.
The player that Cardinals fans would most like to see in Arizona is Anthony Collins, who currently plays for the Bengals. 87% of the voters said Arizona should pursue him. Although Collins was not a starter for Cincinnati, when he was on the field, he showed that he can be extremely effective. At the age of 26 and no significant injuries in his past, Collins would ideally be the perfect building block at either tackle position. He will undoubtedly get some offers to play elsewhere next season and the Bengals should be part of the mix, but if the Cardinals see a shot at him, they should definitely take it. Here is what I wrote on Collins.
Obviously, most of these five athletes would be able to come in and provide some sort of an upgrade over the product the Cardinals are currently putting on the field. Levi Brown and Brandon Keith have shown that they struggle in pass protection. The draft could very well impact the Cardinals' interest in a free agent tackle, but I feel that they will at least look at a few that are going to hit the open market.
What do you think of these results? Which player would you like to see the Cardinals target most? Did I fail to mention someone that really peaks your interest? Tell us in the comments section and vote in the poll.
Which offensive tackle do you think the Cardinals should show the most interest in during the free agency period?
Max Starks (13 votes)
Jeff Backus (15 votes)
Jared Gaither (65 votes)
Demetrius Bell (42 votes)
Anthony Collins (89 votes)
Other (Specify in comments) (7 votes)
231 total votes