The Arizona Cardinals have a plethora of players who are in key positions who need to be re-signed for 2018 and beyond.
If not, we could see another heavy turnover on the roster, for the second year in a row, something you don’t necessarily with a team that is supposed to be a contender.
Here are five players who are playing for a contract extension.
Deone Bucannon, $LB 2019 free agent
While Bucannon is under contract for the 2018 season, it is not guaranteed and you would like the revolving door that has been the inside linebacker position to be under control long term.
Letting Bucannon play out his 2017 season and get into 2018 without knowing if he is the guy you want next to Haason Reddick is not ideal. Knowing that 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be a grouping of Reddick and Bucannon would be great for a consistent future for the Arizona Cardinals defense.
Corey Peters, NT 2018 free agent
Peters is an unsung hero on the defense. He was a rock in the middle as a nose tackle, and he has the look of a player ready to get one last contract. If Peters plays at the same level as 2016, another three year deal worth $10-12 million would be ideal for all involved. IT would minimize the turnover on the defensive line as well as giving the Cardinals a veteran to keep post Frostee Rucker.
Tyvon Branch, S 2018 free agent
Branch has been battling injuries his entire career. He needs a great, not a good season, that shows his versatility as a safety and cornerback. You may be thinking, why would the Cardinals after drafting Budda Baker and signing Antoine Bethea be a re-sign possibility?
No one in the Cardinals secondary, outside of Patrick Peterson, has the size, speed, and play making ability as Branch. He has the size to play in the box as a safety, he has the speed to play as a single deep safety, but also has succeeded as a corner in the slot and boundary. He could be the most versatile piece in a secondary loaded with versatile pieces.
However he has to be able to give the Cardinals 600-700 productive snaps, if he can do that, he could play his way into another contract in Arizona, as one of the “older” guys on the defense.
John Brown, WR 2018 free agent
Brown’s status is one to watch. He needs to be healthy and productive, if not, his trajectory of being the Bruce Arians wide receiver that the Cardinals build around is over.
I talked about it before, a healthy Brown is going to be a $8-12 million a year player, you have to be sure if you are giving Brown 5/$50, because if you are not, you are again looking for a wide receiver.
Blaine Gabbert, QB 2018 free agent
No one doubts Gabbert quite as much as I do. However, Drew Stanton is a free agent in 2018 as well.
This means, you can sign Stanton, again, as a $3-4 million a year backup, or you can sign Gabbert to a contract for half that price.
This is not endorsing Gabbert as the quarterback after Palmer in anyway. It is however endorsing the idea of having Gabbert as your backup quarterback in 2018 and potentially 2019 fighting with a new quarterback, Blake Bortles anyone, if the Cardinals have still decided to kick the drafting a quarterback down the road.