Previously in our ROTB free agency series, we examined a player that has been both apart of the practice squad and the 53 man roster. Ronald Talley plays defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals and is now set to become a free agent, but the Cards do hold his exclusive rights. 63% of you voted that the organization should exercise those rights and tender him an offer, keeping him on the team for the foreseeable future. He will certainly need to prove that he deserves a spot in the upcoming training camp.
Today, we look at a player that was also undrafted coming out of college, but has had a greater impact for the Cardinals. Reggie Walker is one of the better special teams players for Arizona and he is also a valuable piece for depth at the inside linebacker position. He is listed as a restricted free agent, meaning he will be free to sign wherever he wants to this summer, but the Cards will have the right of first refusal. So what should the team do? Should they keep Walker in the fold? Let's find out after the jump.
Signing with the Cardinals after failing to get drafted out of Kansas State in 2009, Walker has been a stalwart on special teams. This was exemplified last season when he was the only Cardinals player to be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot for his work in that phase of the game. He did not end up making the Pro Bowl, but that does not take away from the work he did.
Walker had eight solo special teams tackles and only missed one in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus. He was penalized twice on the year, but his ability to make open field tackles and create blocks to spring return men forward far outweighs his mistakes.
He was also a contributor on the defensive side of the ball. Walker played a total of 80 snaps on the season, the majority of them coming in week two against the Washington Redskins when Daryl Washington was injured and Stewart Bradley was still very unfamiliar with the defensive scheme. PFF gave him a negative grade overall, especially in the run defense category, but he did make two stops and was able to pressure Cam Newton once in week one.
So should the Cardinals re-sign him? He accounted for a $525,000 cap hit as of last season and his price is likely to go up with his second deal. However, his accomplishments should not be overlooked and his stellar play on special teams is something that the club will have to consider.
I absolutely believe that the team should re-sign him. Not only is he a good special teams player, but he also knows the defensive scheme that the Cardinals are running under Ray Horton, which is very complicated and something that a newcomer would have to adjust to. He provides good depth at linebacker and can make some plays when asked to do so.
What do you think? Should the Arizona Cardinals re-sign Reggie Walker? Vote in the poll and make sure to leave your opinion in the comments section below.