We’ve examined the offseason Roster for the 2017 Cardinals. (Offense and Defense). We know who’s currently on the roster and what our biggest needs are. But who is out there to fulfill those needs? We will take a look at what players the Cardinals can realistically grab, and if those players would be ideal fits. This is simply on the offensive side of the ball, as we will once again split this in two articles.
In the offseason roster, I labeled this a “Moderate to High” need. The Cardinals will go in with two aging Quarterbacks, and Zac Dysert, who will likely only be a preseason arm. The Cardinals would love to find their Quarterback of the future soon, but is 2017 the year? There are a three names in the Free Agent market who could draw some interest from Keim and Company:
Mike Glennon - Glennon drew a lot of interest from the Cardinals early on in his career. There were a number of reports which claimed Steve Keim tried to trade for Glennon, but to no avail. Glennon will command some money, as a lot of backups are now making larger sums of money with the increasing cap space.
Geno Smith - Smith has been linked to the Cardinals a number of times. He was linked to them during the draft process in 2013, before being taken by the Jets in the second round. Smith will hit the market after returning from an ACL injury that he sustained in week seven against the Ravens.
EJ Manuel - A fan favorite. Also another player linked to Arizona in 2013. Manuel was picked ahead of Smith, by the Bills in the first round. Like Smith, he never could find his footing as a starter, being replaced by his third season. Unlike Smith, Manuel actually has more touchdowns than interceptions.
The Cardinals go into 2017 with three guys locked up. David Johnson, Elijaah Penny, and Kerwynn Williams. They would probably feel more comfortable with one player with a little more NFL experience. Do they go older like CJ2K? Or slightly younger? These guys are available:
Chris Johnson - Older veteran who was expected to create a two headed monster in the backfield. He’s a free agent once again, but do the Cardinals give him another deal? Johnson is aging, and could likely be looking for more than one year on his contract. That will be the big question during the offseason.
Knile Davis - Davis has averaged 3.3 yards per carry throughout his career. He slowly lost his role in KC, and was not even active for the Chiefs playoff game. He offers value as a return man, and a threat out of the backfield. That however, is the same mold Kerwynn Williams fits into. Davis does add a few extra inches at 5’11 compared to Williams 5’8.
Christine Michael - Michael had seven touchdowns in 2016, and racked up almost 600 yards throughout. He was the Seahawks lead back, until Rawls return, and wound up in Green Bay. He’s a one cut kind of back, but would offer relief for David Johnson, who was continually used in 2016.
A “Moderate” need in 2017. It will depend on whether or not Larry Fitzgerald returns for one more rodeo. If that is the case, that need jumps to “Immediate” as the Cardinals currently lack a number two option behind Fitzgerald. The draft is full of options, but who’s available as a Free Agent?
Terrance Williams - Often in the shadow of Dez Bryant, Williams has quietly been a productive NFL receiver. Through four seasons he’s totaled 20 touchdowns, and 2800 yards receiving. While not a All-Pro by any means, Williams stands at 6’2 and has 4.52 forty speed. He’s dropped a couple of balls, which was one of the knocks against him in 2013, but he’s an outside threat that the Cardinals lacked in 2016.
Denarius Moore - Moore is 6’0, so not the tall bodies receiver the Cardinals need, but makes this list because of the rapport he had built with Palmer during their time together. In two seasons, they had connected for 1359 yards and 12 scores. He fits the JJ Nelson and John Brown speed mold, but his work with Palmer in the past could bring him to the desert.
Kenny Britt - A divisional foe, Britt had a productive season in the leagues worst offense. He totaled his first 1000 yard season and five scores. He doesn’t post ground breaking numbers, but he’s a productive player. This would not eliminate the Cardinals drafting a receiver however.
One of the biggest needs that the Cardinals have, the tight end position will be one looked at in both markets. Currently, the Cardinals have three players under contract. Two of which are constantly injured. Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
Levine Toilolo - The 27th ranked Tight End by PFF. He recorded 13 catches for 264 yards and two scores. At 6’8 he offers you the redzone threat that the other players on the roster offer as well. What may keep him from signing is his blocking. He had a 59.0 run blocking grade, and a 55.9 pass blocking grade. On a team that expects their tight ends to block, that’s difficult to look past, but with Momah coming in on a cheap deal and learning to block, that could be similar to Toilolo.
Jack Doyle - Doyle makes this list because of the Indianapolis connections. Doyle was PFF 15th tight end, and received a 70.0 pass blocking grade. He graded out with a 74 receiving grade. Similar to Gresham, Doyle is more a pass catcher, but has the ability to block. Doyle will likely command a larger salary than Toilolo, but is still a name to mention.
Jermaine Gresham - I’ll add our first re-signed player. Gresham was the 56th graded tight end by PFF. Gresham made some key plays at key moments, and was much better than 2015. He won’t be looking for another one year deal, so the Cardinals will have to pay more for him than the other two mentioned. Gresham turned down larger deals for a run at a Super Bowl in 2016, so the Cardinals will likely have to show they are ready for another run in 2017.
As of right now the Cardinals have two players. Evan Boehm, who can play two spots, and Taylor Boggs who is a swiss army knife. There is really only one player the Cardinals could sign here, but we will name two just for intrigue.
A.Q. Shipley - The Cardinals starter in 2016 beat out rookie Evan Boehm during preseason. Shipley was the 15th ranked Center by PFF, and was the teams anchor up front all season. At 30, Shipley could look to cash in before he hits the decline, but a return to Arizona is more likely.
J.C. Tretter - The Packers starting center, and first time starter. Tretter managed seven games before spraining his knee in October. Due to that injury, the Cardinals could get him cheaper than expected, but that will depend on how the Packers want to move forward. He was placed on IR prior to the teams loss to Atlanta in the Championship round.
Mike Iupati has no competition just yet. The Cardinals have a gaping hole on the right side however, and that’s what the team will have to address.
Kevin Zeitler - Zeitler will command a big payday, but how much is it worth to the Cardinals to solidify their leaky line? Zeitler will instantly fill in on the right side, and help shore up the Cardinals weak side of the line.
TJ Lang - Lang sustained an injury against the Falcons on Sunday and did not return. It turned out to be a broken foot, the same one he broke in November. Lang was insistent about returning to Green Bay. At age 29, it could likely be the last time fans see him in Green Bay. According to Spotrac.com, Lang’s projected Market value is 8.4 million a season. If the Cardinals were to sign him, they would have two of the top five salaries for guards on their roster.
Larry Warford - The 2016 seasons 21st ranked guard, Warford is hitting the market at 25 years old. Warford is likely the cheapest option of the three players. He has only played in one full season, his rookie year, and missed seven games combined in the three years following.
Another position that could use some depth building, can be addressed in either Free Agency or Draft. The Cardinals have their starters in DJ Humphries and Jared Veldheer, but as of right now, lack depth. They have a number of guys hitting the market, and some will return, but the Cardinals could be looking for more viable backups.
Mike Remmers - A two year starter for the Carolina Panthers, Remmers was okay in 2015, and looked pretty bad in 2016. Remmers adds solid depth and not much else. He’s a good run blocker who struggles in pass protection. Likely viewed as little more than depth, Remmers will not get a look until later in the free agent process, unless the Panthers change their mind and decide to retain him.
Mike Adams - A swing tackle who missed 2015 with a back injury, played behind Bobby Massie and Charles Leno in 2016. Adams is capable of playing both positions on the line, which is something Arians looks for in backups.
Ben Ijalana - A left tackle converted to right tackle, Ijalana did not feel comfortable in his new spot until this season. The former second round pick out of Villanova hardly saw any playing time in New York until 2016, where he became the teams starting right tackle. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 60th tackle, and rightfully so. He appears better in relief than he does as a full time starter, something that will likely not happen in Arizona. Ijalana will be a later pickup in Free Agency, so his price tag won’t be significant.
That is where we wrap up here. We’ll focus on the Defensive targets next week, and who the Cardinals may retain. For now, discuss who you would like to see added to the Cardinals roster, or if there are any players the Cardinals should retain for these positions.