Over one month ago John Buckley wrote about what the Arizona cardinals should do with each and every one of their 27 in house free agents heading into the offseason.
John understood something quite clear at the time and his early prognostications have shown to be correct, the Arizona Cardinals needed to turn over their roster.
27 free agent decisions later, the biggest name returning to the Cardinals was signed today in Rodney Gunter, outside of Larry Fitzgerald but there was never a question if he was leaving, just if he was retiring.
No, John was astute last month when he put out his list, but his reasoning for keeping Gunter also made sense at the right price:
DT Rodney Gunter
Gunter had a solid year as a DT on an underperforming 4-3 defense in 2018. The switch back to the 3-4 won’t affect him much, as he was also solid playing 3-4 DE the previous year. It’s also very likely that Gunter is one of the 3-4 Cardinals free agents Keim is purportedly interested in bringing back. But has Gunter played his way to a contract bigger than what the team is willing to pay? That will be one of the key in-house storylines to monitor during free agency. If the price is right, Gunter should be back—but we shouldn’t overpay.
Re-sign or let walk: Re-sign.
From people I trust, Gunter thought he would get a deal at worst similar to what the Cardinals gave Darius Philon.
That didn’t manifest, so the Cardinals correctly grabbed Gunter back and have him in the fold.
Yet, outside of some smaller deals, Gunter and Ricky Seals-Jones are the only names back.
It makes sense to me, this was the core of a team who struggled over the last three seasons, so rebuilding it makes sense.
However, the Cardinals offseason riches were overstated when you factored in the sheer volume of players needing replaced.
Now, with Gunter back in the fold, the Cardinals have a starting defense, they have a starting offense, they just need to find the right pieces to fill in and or replace where possible.
It is good to see Gunter back though.