At this point, every Cardinals fans should know this. In order for them to avoid another disaster of a season, they must fix their offensive line.
The Cardinals offensive line allowed 52 sacks and 109 QB hits, fifth and fourth-most respectively in 2018.
Considering the fact that they ranked last in all major offensive categories, it might be more than a one-year fix.
D.J. Humphries will return as the Cardinals left tackle and will have one last chance to shed his injury-prone/bust label. Justin Pugh should move to left guard to cater to his strengths, as he struggled mightily as a right guard in 2018.
Cardinals’ newly-hired OL coach Sean Kugler believes that Mason Cole can play center in the NFL for 10 to 12 years. He has to get stronger and that seems to be a common problem for all offensive linemen the Cardinals draft. He’ll compete with veteran A.Q. Shipley for the starting job.
It’s fair to say that the Cardinals have the left side of their offensive line already in place but will fill the right side via free agency and the draft.
Colby Gossett and Korey Cunningham were forced into the starting lineup as rookies in 2018 but both had their good moments.
Based on how active the Cardinals have been thus far in the offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to ink Josh Sitton, expected to be released by the Dolphins, to a deal right away.
They must avoid signing players that have struggled as a pass protector. Andre Smith was considered one of the worst pass-blocking tackle in the NFL in 2017 and that trend continued into 2018. I wouldn’t rule out a reunion with former Cardinals’ offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who was coached by Kugler last season.
The other offensive lineman on the roster includes Justin Evans, Zack Golditch, Will Holden, Will House, Rees Odhiambo, and Coleman Shelton
Here’s a list of the Cardinals free-agent offensive linemen:
- G Mike Iupati
- T Joe Barksdale
- G Oday Aboushi
- G/T John Wetzel (RFA)
- G Jeremy Vujnovich (ERFA)
- C Daniel Munyer (ERFA)
Iupati’s time with the Cardinals is over. His best days are behind him and he can’t seem to stay healthy. It would be wise for the Cardinals to bring Joe Barksdale back, in case they can’t sign one of the bigger names in free agency. Wetzel is the swiss-army knife of the Cardinals offensive line and should be brought back on a one-year deal or a restricted free agent tender.
Daniel Munyer had no business being on the Cardinals 53-man roster last season. He struggled as a center in the preseason yet he was retained. Even though the Cardinals own his rights, he should not be brought back as he was one of the weak links to this team. Aboushi has jumped around the league since entering the NFL in 2013 and will likely continue to go down that path. Vujnovich will likely be back to compete for a backup spot.
Overall, the Cardinals have a lot of intriguing players for depth but a very injury prone group of offensive linemen.
Who would you all like to see the Cardinals sign/re-sign in free agency or draft to improve the offensive line?