I hope that the Cardinals do two very important things this off-season: (1) move on from players who aren’t giving their all; (2) sign free agents who are younger (2nd contract candidates who are 26-27 years old). Please, no more of these one year veteran signings, unless they are later on to fill in at a position due to injuries in training camp.
Here is the type of off-season game plan that I would like to see the Cardinals orchestrate.
QB1: Kyler Murray—-poised to build off rookie year success
QB2: Kyle Sloter—-saves $3M of cap space and has playmaking ability
RB1: Kenyan Drake (re-sign for 3 years at $5M a year, plus incentives)—-good fit as versatile runner/receiver
RB2: Chase Edmonds—-shares time with Drake—-both are interchangeable
RB3: Draft Pick
WR1: Draft Pick—-adding an elite #1 type WR to this offense is key.
WR2: Christian Kirk—-evolving into a big threat playmaker.
WR3: Andy Isabella—-how many teams have a CB3 who can cover Isabella?
WR4: KeeSean Johnson—-once he and Kyler get on the same page, KSJ could be special.
WR5: Hakeem Butler—-has ability to be very good red zone threat and potential home run WR
WR6: Trent Sherfield—-ST stud who has more talent at WR than people realize
WR7: Pharoh Cooper (re-sign at slightly above minimum)—-he’s a good fit for STs and as situational WR. Or—-A.J. Richardson—-I like him, good route runner, great hands.
TE1: Maxx Williams (re-sign 3 years at $3.5M a year)—-key to running game, good receiver
TE2: Caleb Wilson—-should be stronger and ready to produce in year two
TE3: Draft Pick
LT1: La’el Collins (UFA—-4 years/$14M a year)—-big splash FA signing to anchor improved OL
LT2: Joshua Miles—-swing tackle, should be improved in year 2
LG1: Justin Pugh—-building on the momentum of his best season in Arizona
LG2: Draft Pick
C1: Mason Cole—-reclaims starting spot
C2: Lamont Gaillard—-swing C/G
RG1: J.R. Sweezy—-another good season lands him an extension for 2021 and perhaps beyond
RG2: Gaillard/Draft Pick
RT1: Draft Pick
RT2: Justin Murray
NT1: Corey Peters—-stalwart in the middle, excellent leader
NT2: Zach Kerr—-excellent addition for DT rotation
LDE1: Zach Allen—-it’s his time to shine in year 2
LDE2: Jonathan Bullard—-has been strong versus the run
RDE1: Nick Williams (UFA 3 years at $3.5M a year)—-brings talent and great hustle
RDE2: Michael Dogbe—-big year 2 coming up for him as rotation player
RDE3: Draft Pick
LOLB1: Yannick Ngokue (UFA signee 3 years at $7.5M a year)—-34 OLB prototype, high morrow
LOLB2: Dennis Gardeck—-has pass rushing ability and very good speed.
LOLB3: Pete Robertson—-good on STs and as situational edge rusher
LILB1: Jordan Hicks—-seeking to build the consistency to match his talent
LILB2: Draft Pick
RILB1: Myles Jack (UFA signee 4 years at $9M a year, plus incentives)—-made to order at $LB
RILB2: Joe Walker—-good STs and role player
RILB3/SS3: Zeke Turner—-gets to learn from Myles Jack while continuing to flash on STs
ROLB1: Chandler Jones—-man on a mission
ROLB2: Cassius Marsh—-(re-sign to 2 year deal at $1.75M a year)—-good, aggressive role player and STs dynamo
LCB1: Byron Murphy—-has the total package and brings toughness in all aspects
LCB2: Kevin Peterson—-pesky cover CB
FS1: Budda Baker—-fast becoming the bell cow leader of the secondary, playing in the box and deep middle, depending on the situation
FS2: Deionte Thompson—-looking to build on valuable experience as rookie
SS1: Jalen Thompson—-has the talent—-can hit and cover TEs and RBs.
SS2: Draft Pick
RCB1: Robert Alford—-hopefully he can bounce back with a big year
RCB2: Draft Pick—-to groom behind Alford
RCB3: Chris Jones—-tough kid, good for depth
K: Zane Gonzalez—-coming off best season as pro
P: Andy Lee—-bright spot on STs
LS: Aaron Brewer—-solid and reliable
- RB David Johnson—-the Cardinals and he need to figure out what is going on with him. If he’s considering retirement, maybe he and the club can reach a buyout agreement on his contract. If he still wants to play—-perhaps the Cardinals can trade him for a player who has a similar contract and could use a change of scenery.
- WR Larry Fitzgerald—-it would be great to see Larry return for a another season, but this time the team cannot afford to pay him $11-12M of their $79M cap space. Hopefully he would accept a team friendly deal.
- T D.J. Humphries—-too inconsistent to warrant a top level LT salary. If he agrees to a team friendly deal, then sure, keep him. But that, at this point, would seem unlikely.
- C A.Q. Shipley—-deserves Comeback Player of Year, but it’s time to get Cole in there. Might be a good guy to add to coaching staff as an assistant OL coach, if he decides to retire.
- LB Haason Reddick—-if the Cardinals aren’t going to play him on the edge as a 34 OLB, (where he belongs, imo), then they need to trade him.
- CB Patrick Peterson—-hopefully he can get back in shape this season and return to form. That would make it easier to trade him this off-season. Too much excess baggage at this point to try to repack.
2020 NFL Draft:
In light of some expected trades, I am thinking that the Cardinals will wind up with 9 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thus here are 9 prospects I would love to see the Cardinals make at the positions I listed as needing draft picks.
- Cee Dee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma—-he and Kyler equal fireworks
- Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina—-reminds me some of Calais Campbell
- Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah—-superb ballhawk
- Calvin Throckmorton, T, Oregon—-day one starter at RT.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU—-small, tough, slippery and super competitive
- Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt—-good size and strength, tough kid
- Jon Runyan, G, Michigan—-Sean Kugler and Mason Cole know him well, he’s Kugler’s type of guard
- Joe Bachie, ILB, Michigan St.—-tackling machine
- Tariq Thompson, S, San Diego St.—-good, tough player, why not have Thompson triplets
I know it’s very early to look at the 2020 off-season, but I am hoping that this just gives a little something to keep our eyes on as this season moves forward,
What do you think the 2020 off-season will look like?