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2018 Cornerback Free Angecy Primer: Who Should The Arizona Cardinals Have Their Eye On?

The Arizona Cardinals have had an obvious need at the cornerback position, even with Patrick Peterson in the fold. Who should the team target to play across from Peterson?

Carolina Panthers v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Ever since Patrick Peterson was drafted, the Cardinals have had a difficult time finding a counterpart for him to play across the field and defend the opposing offense’s second option. It’s not to say the team hasn’t tried a bunch of different options, it’s just that nobody has really stuck.

General Manager Steve Keim could finally look to rectify that issue this offseason either in free agency or the draft. If he chooses to go the free agency route, what are some names out there that make sense? Let’s take a look at a few.

Brent Grimes- If Keim continues his trend of looking for veterans on cheap and short deals, Grimes could be the perfect candidate. Yes, he comes with what many would consider baggage in that his wife is kind of crazy (hi Miko!), but he has been very effective for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past couple of seasons. I would prefer the Cardinals look for a younger option, but if they want to keep signing cheap veterans to fill holes, Grimes would be a solid option.

Patrick Robinson- With a Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl ring now on his hand, Robinson is going to look to cash in one final time for his NFL career. At 30 years old, the Eagles may look to keep cap space open by not re-signing their slot cornerback and letting him hit free agency. One report has already noted that the Cardinals would have interest (via Bleeding Green Nation). Where he would play in the desert remains to be seen should he sign here, but he would undoubtedly be an immediate upgrade in the defensive backfield.

Morris Claiborne- The former Dallas Cowboys corner was a former high draft pick out of LSU that many thought would be a replica of Patrick Peterson in the NFL. That didn’t work out in Dallas, so he signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets and former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles where he thrived in 2017. The Jets have oodles of cap money and could look to keep Claiborne in town, but if he hits the market, he may be a reasonably priced option that could add to the already LSU-heavy Arizona Cardinals secondary.

Tramon Williams- Williams was an absolute stud for the Cardinals last season and filled the #2 CB spot on the depth chart admirably. The team started with Justin Bethel in that position (another free agent this offseason), but that didn’t work out, so Bruce Arians quickly pivoted to Williams. He provided a nice veteran presence and still showed to be an effective player at age 34. The Cardinals could look to keep him around another year while seeing if they can get anything out of Brandon Williams and any other young guy they bring in. In terms of cost, this could easily be the most effective option as well.

A lot of what happens is going to depend on what scheme Al Holcomb decides to run and if he will be keeping his corners on an island as much as James Bettcher did (which seems likely). Either way, the Cards have options and would be wise to explore each one of them as they search for a player to solidify their defense.