Fox Sports recently released a list of the top 15 NFL offensive players that will hit the market once the lockout is over. As has been chronicled, the Arizona Cardinals do not usually make a big splash in free agency, as they prefer to draft players that can contribute while making small free agent signings along the way.
But just for kicks, let's assume the Cardinals decided that one of these players was their guy and that they could afford to throw some money at them, thus allowing them to don Cardinal red.
After the jump, I will give you a few names based off of the Fox Sports list that could fit very well in Glendale if the Cardinals were willing to spend on them.
The Cardinals' offensive line is in disarray to say the least. In what would likely be the new rules under the collective bargaining agreement, Deuce Lutui and Lyle Sendlein would both become unrestricted free agents, allowing them to sign with any team they want. Couple that with the retiring of Alan Faneca and the restricted free agent status of Brandon Keith and you get the status quo of the O-Line.
Who I would like the Cardinals to pursue: Jammal Brown. Brown was recently traded for and, as Adam Caplan states, the Redskins would like to re-sign him to a long term deal. Brown wants to play left tackle where 2010 first-round draft pick Trent Williams has already made his mark.
If he came to the Cardinals, Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm and the rest of the coaching staff could finally move Levi Brown to the guard position, thus allowing him to excel and possibly live up to his draft status. Caplan suggests Jammal Brown could play right tackle here, but I think it would suit the Cardinals better to allow Jammal Brown to move to the left side and give Brandon Keith more time to grow. Jammal could come in and provide stability and protection to whatever quarterback the Cardinals decide to sign. The only problem would be having two Brown's playing right next to each other, which could get confusing to the casual fan.
Speaking of quarterback, two of the top fifteen offensive free agents (according to this list) are of the position. Matt Hasselbeck and Marc Bulger have both been linked to the Cardinals ever since the QB carousel started spinning. We are unsure if Bulger would truly not mind starting, as his camp has been sending mixed messages for months now. Hasselbeck has had injury problems and he is not getting any younger, so signing him could be a bit of a risk.
What the Cardinals should do: In my humble opinion, I believe that the Cardinals should take a chance on Hasselbeck IF they believe that John Skelton can develop and become a consistent starter in this league. Hasselbeck could provide a bridge and tutelage to the young Skeletor, while still allowing the Cardinals to get wins in the meantime.
The best part about signing Hasselbeck would be that the Cardinals organization would not have to give up any picks or players to get him. If they have their sights set on a guy like Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton, it would not be a simple contract signing. Picks and/or players would be exchanged, which could stunt the future growth of the franchise.
Last but not least, the wide receiver position may need to be addressed. We don't know whether or not Steve Breaston will be re-signed, (but we hope he will be) so making an insurance signing would never hurt. If Breaston ends up on another team, Andre Roberts could be forced into the starting lineup, which may be a little premature. Early Doucet is often injured and Stephen Williams, Max Komar and DeMarco Sampson are too raw to be consistent contributors and starters.
Who I would like the Cardinals to pursue: Lance Moore. I am not saying a guy like Moore can come in and be a savior or even a starter, but he would provide great depth to our wide receiver corps. Moore has been a touchdown machine in New Orleans, as he caught more touchdown passes than Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem last season. Lance has been productive all throughout his career and he would be an excellent addition to our team without requiring a large contract.
Outside of the quarterbacks, I doubt that the Cardinals have any interest in any of these players. As previously mentioned, spending big in free agency is not part of the Cardinals' mantra. I fully expect them to extend the contract of Breaston, thus making the signing of a guy like Lance Moore moot.
So those are the players I think the Cardinals should consider signing once free agency begins. I have given you my reasons for each signing and I encourage you to take a look at the list and tell everyone in the comments section why you would want a certain player on the Cardinals.