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Arizona Cardinals one of the winners in 2013 NFL free agency

ESPN's John Clayton praises the Cardinals for the value of the players they signed.

Stephen Dunn

The Arizona Cardinals were extremely active in free agency this offseason, as they had a myriad of needs to fill. They parted ways with a few starters, including longtime player and likely future Ring of Honor inductee Adrian Wilson.

Typically, it is not a good thing if you have to rely heavily on free agency to get you team competitive, but in this case, it appears that the Cardinals went about it the right way. They got a lot of value and did not tie up much money long term.

ESPN's John Clayton evaluated the teams around the league and how they did in the free agency period and called the Cardinals one of three "winners."

As for teams, three winners emerged from the post-frenzy shopping market -- Arizona, Chicago and Tennessee. Based on playing time from last year, I'd give the Cardinals the slight edge from the post-March 17 market. Among their signings, cornerback Antoine Cason played 976 snaps for the Chargers last year, Jasper Brinkley had 813 snaps at linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, and Chilo Rachal had 643 snaps on the Bears' offensive line. The cost was a combined $5.7 million in contracts.

Obviously we have to wait and see to evaluate the quality of the free agents the team picked up, but one thing is certain -- they didn't risk a lot. If most of them don't pan out, guess what? Considering how many are on one-year deals, they simply walk away, and if they do, the Cardinals could be in a position to pick up some compensatory draft selections in next year's NFL Draft.

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