Hat tip to JoeCB1991 and hadrarius for fanshot-ing the news that former Browns guard Rex Hadnot, Nick Eason, and Wade Smith will be visiting the Cardinals on Monday.
After the initial rush of free agency passed last Friday, the Cardinals were left standing three players short and helpless. That didn't last for long when they shipped two draft picks to the New York Jets for safety Kerry Rhodes. But considering the Cardinals were going to have plenty of holes to fill before free agency ever took place, acquiring one player wasn't enough.
As we already know, the Cardinals are meeting with linebacker Larry Foote on Monday, and will meet linebacker Joey Porter Thursday. Assuming at least one of them is signed, we'll rule them out of this discussion.
Most of the big names are off the board and in the next few weeks the situational player, the role players, or bench riders will find their new homes. Let's take a look at some of the names still on the open market that the Cardinals should pursue.
Charlie Batch, QB: I'm listing him first because the Cardinals badly need depth at quarterback behind Matt Leinart. Batch has played under Ken Whisenhunt before and his Steeler-roots are hard to pass up. He's a seasoned veteran and has filled in for the Steelerscountless times before. Should he need to fill in for Matty, his experience will provide the Cardinals with solid back up play. Although he's nearing the end of his career, his presence would give the Cardinals 1-2 years to find a young back up for Leinart.
Will Witherspoon, ILB: If the deal with Foote doesn't play through, the Cardinals should make a push for Witherspoon. He played the previous three and a half seasons with the Rams, meaning his production was over-shadowed by the gloomy seasons St. Louis has experienced recently. When he was traded to the Eagles midseason this past year, he was considerably better and played to his full potential. Do you think Matt Leinart would mind playing with the guy that broke his collarbone though?
Rod Hood, CB: Hood is an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with the Titans. It's not irregular for a player to return to his old team, but it is unlikely. Ralph Brown wasn't tendered and we all know how the Bryant McFadden signing has panned out. If the Cardinals were to re-sign Hood, he'd fill a need opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and can start or fill the nickel role if needed.
Jake Delhomme, QB: Okay, I've seen the idea thrown around here a few times lately, which is why I'm bringing it up. Delhomme was unexpectedly released by the Panthers last week, and now leads the free agent market of quarterbacks. Has he been utterly terrible since the Cardinals beat the Panthers during their Super Bowl run? Yes. I won't make any excuses for him but the guy wasn't all that bad before then and he has played in a Super Bowl.
Antwaan Randle El, WR: We all know that Ken Whisenhunt prefers to bring in former Steelers, so why not Randle El? With the departure of Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals are short a wide receiver. Let's not forget the team thankfully didn't tender Jerheme Urban. With Urban gone and Sean Moreyon the market, the Cardinals could actually be in need of a wide out. Randle El fits nicely in the offense given his past under Whisenhunt, and the fact that he's a veteran that can play quarterback as well(another plus for Whiz).
Ma'ake Kemoeatu, NT: Another popular free agent that I've heard lately was Kemoeatu. He was lost to the injured reserve last year so the Cardinals will likely consider his injury-baggage before signing him. When healthy, he's a solid stake in the defense that can play the run and pressure the quarterback. I don't see the team targeting him however, but look out for Damione Lewis - the other defensive tackle that Carolina didn't re-sign.
Keith Bulluck, OLB: If the Cardinals can't reach a deal with Porter, Bulluck could be a possibility to land in the desert. He's still got some gas left in the tank and when healthy, he's still a beast on the defense. His leadership is irreplaceable, and I believe he has the smarts to learn a new system even at his age. The Cardinals would unfortunately have to wait on his injury rehabilitation, something they may not be prepared to do.
In all reality, the Cardinals aren't the team to go out and make a big splash in free agency, so any major signings don't seem likely. Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves have continued to express that they'd like to build the franchise through the draft - and rightfully so. There is a possibility however, that the Cardinals will go out and find their typical role players. Do you see the Cardinals signing any of these players? Is there anyone else that we should consider?