With free agency approaching, the Arizona Cardinals hope to address the interior offensive line. 2014 starting right guard Paul Fanaika is expected to test the market and land with another team. Jonathan Cooper has yet to stay healthy. Earl Watford has yet to show he can win a starting job and Ted Larsen struggled at left guard much of the season.
Local radio host and reporter Mike Jurecki reported the Cardinals will have their eyes on a pair of interior linemen who will hit the market on Tuesday. According to him, Arizona will go after center/guard Stefen Wisniewski and center A.Q. Shipley.
Wisniewski could be another Raider to land with the Cardinals. Linebacker Matt Shaughnessy signed as a free agent two seasons ago. The team traded for Carson Palmer two offseasons ago. Left tackle Jared Veldheer inexplicably was not retained last offseason and the Cardinals signed him.
Wisniewski will test free agency and the Raiders are not expected to try and bring him back. He was drafted by Oakland in the second round in 2011 and has been a starter every season in the league, playing both left guard and center. He is 25 years old. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 22nd best center in terms of overall rating. He ranked 19th in run blocking.
He was the center for Carson Palmer when he was in Oakland for two seasons.
Shipley played for Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians before. Shipley is 28 years old and has bounced around a bit. He was drafted in 2009 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round when Arians was offensive coordinator and spent the season on the practice squad.
He spent 2010 on the practice squad for the Philadelphia Eagles and was out of the league in 2011.
He joined the Colts in 2012, where Arians was offensive coordinator and became interim head coach and started five games. He was traded to the Ravens in 2013, started five games and rejoined the Colts in 2014, where he started five games. In his 386 snaps last season, he was rated the 14th best center using Pro Football Focus ratings. He was 17th among centers in run blocking and had a positive pass blocking rating.
He was eligible to be a restricted free agent, but the Colts are not going to offer him a qualifying tender.
Shipley could be signed as depth, much like last season's signing of Ted Larsen. That wouldn't necessarily signal the end of starting center and offensive captain Lyle Sendlein's tenure in Arizona. However, if the Cardinals add Wisniewski, surely Sendlein will be released.
Of course, the team could go after both, release Sendlein and let Wisniewski, Shipley and Larsen all battle for the starting center job and one of the guard spots.