The Arizona Cardinals 2018 season is almost over and this team will have to make changes not only to their coaching staff but to their roster as well. Josh Rosen needs better protection from his offensive line and he needs to have more reliable players around him.
But who will stay and who will go?
Here is a position-by-position outlook for the Cardinals current players.
Josh Rosen will be under contract through 2021, with a player option in 2022. If everything goes as planned, he will be the franchise quarterback. He’s had a fair share of struggles this season but hopefully he can continue to grow into a QB the NFL thinks he can become. Rosen is having a rookie season very similar to that of Jared Goff’s. He has the arm talent and the mental makeup to succeed, but just needs more help with his development and for the pieces around him to play better. Six-year veteran QB Mike Glennon will be under contract through 2019 but his future with the team is tied with Steve Keim. Chad Kanoff is on their practice squad and played well during the preseason.
There probably won’t be many changes to the running back position. David Johnson is their starter with fourth-round pick Chase Edmonds as the backup. Even with an inconsistent offensive line, Johnson is still expected to play well which he hasn’t. T.J. Logan brings value as a return specialist but hasn’t been used much as a running back. He demonstrated his speed during the preseason but he will need to excel as a returner to return to the team. He’s under contract through 2020. D.J. Foster is on IR but will be a restricted free agent.
Larry Fitzgerald will retire at some point and with expected coaching changes, it is more likely than ever for him to retire after the season. Christian Kirk has already proven to be a threat on offense and special teams. He’ll take the reigns as the Cardinals top receiver for many more years to come. Undrafted receiver Trent Sherfield stepped up in his lone start of the season when others did not. If he can continue to improve, he’ll make the team again as the Cardinals fourth or fifth receiver on the depth chart. Jalen Tolliver needs to standout on special teams to have shot at a 53-man roster spot next season.
As for Chad Williams, he continues to struggle in the NFL: dropping passes, battling injuries, and running the wrong routes. He’ll have one last chance to prove himself next offseason. J.J. Nelson will be a free agent. I expect the Cardinals to make major changes to this position, signing and/or trading for a top wide receiver in either the draft or free agency. They can’t continue to rely on Chad Williams or J.J. Nelson.
Jermaine Gresham will either be on the trade block or be a candidate to get cut. He has been penalized one too many times and isn’t a red-zone threat that the Cardinals thought he could be. They would save $4.75 million in cap space with his release. Ricky Seals-Jones has potential but his inconsistencies as a receiver and a blocker makes him nothing more than a TE2. Nine-year veteran John Phillips will be a free agent after the season. Darrell Daniels will be an exclusive rights free agent so he could be back to compete for a backup spot. Either way, the Cardinals will be in search for a more complete tight end to add to their roster.
When the Cardinals original starting offensive line was healthy, their unit was still considered the worst in the NFL. Justin Pugh was the Cardinals big free agent addition but struggled in all phases of his protections. He needs to step up. Mason Cole has had a lot more downs than ups this season but that is reasonable for a rookie. He will compete with A.Q. Shipley for the starting center job.
The Cardinals will have a big decision to make whether to go along with D.J. Humphries’ player option which would be $9.625 against the cap. He has battled injuries throughout his career but has played respectably when healthy. Can they continue to rely on him or even consider him as their franchise left tackle? Korey Cunningham and Colby Gossett are currently rookies but the Steve Keim likes their long-term potential. Veterans Mike Iupati, Oday Aboushi, and Joe Barksdale will be free agents after the season.