Pictured above: Cardinals’ LT D.J. Humphries, this year’s highest ranked player at his position, per PFF.
The Cardinals had 3 players rank in the NFL’s top 10 at their positions:
T D.J. Humphries—-#5 T.
S Budda Baker—-#9 S.
WR DeAndre Hopkins—-#10 WR
The next closest were QB Kyler Murray, ranked as the #13 QB and OLB Haason Reddick ranked as the #24 edge player.
Here are the rankings for players who qualified (per snaps): (BOLD 2021 free agents)
Dan Arnold—-#44 (RFA)
With the large number of free agents the Cardinals have this off-season, these PFF rankings could have (and in many cases should have) a bearing on which of their own UFAs they make it a priority to re-sign.
The UFA who makes the most sense as a signing priority is OLB Haason Reddick.
Beyond him, one could argue that none of the current UFAs have played well enough to be considered a re-signing priority.
These rankings also point an arrow at the veteran players under contract for 2021 who are scheduled to earn perhaps well more money than their recent play justifies: G Justin Pugh, DT Jordan Phillips, ILB Jordan Hicks, DE/OLB Chandler Jones OLB Devon Kennard.
Some of the UFAs are apt to resign at or near the veteran minimum. Those who could make very good sense for the Cardinals to retain are: DI Angelo Blackson, S Chris Banjo.
Beyond that, the remaining free agents are apt to either be out of the Cardinals’ plans for 2021 or apt to be asking for more money than the Cardinals are able and/or willing to give.
For the 2020 Cardinals, one of the most consistent pattern in these rankings is how younger players at their positions graded higher than the veterans. Examples: RB Chase Edmonds, RG Justin Murray, DI Zach Allen, ILB Isaiah Simmons, OLB Haason Reddick, CB Byron Murphy and S Budda Baker.
What this strongly suggests is that the Cardinals would be wise to move away from under-performing veterans in favor of adding younger talent.
Further proof of why moving on from under-performing veterans is the way to go, all 5 players who rank in the top 25 at their positions are young (DJ—27, BB-25, DH-28, KM-23, HR-26). Hopkins, Baker and Murray are the Cardinals’ three Pro Bowlers. The younger players are carrying the Cardinals.
The PFF rankings also are a clear indication of what the Cardinals’ personnel needs are for 2021: RB, WR, G, DI, ILB, OLB, CB.
PFF predicts two UFA signings for the Cardinals:
G Joe Thuney (NE—-ranked #10 G)—-4 years/$57M
DI Shelby Harris (DEN—-#7 ranked DI)—-3 years/$33.4M
For some of the Cardinals’ positions of need, here are the highest ranked 2021 UFAs:
Aaron Jones (GB)—-#13—-79.4
Mike Davis (CAR)—-#22—-75.0
Brandon Scherff (WAS)—-#4—-86.6
Joe Thuney (NE)—-$10—-74.7
Corey Linsley (GB)—-#1—-89.9
Allen Robinson (CHI)—-#5 WR—-88.3
Will Fuller (HOU)—-#9 WR—-86.2
Corey Davis (TEN)—-#11 WR—-85.3
Curtis Samuel (CAR)—-#27 WR—-77.0
T.Y. Hilton (IND)—-#34 WR—-75.9
Marvin Jones (DET)—-#46 WR—-73.5
Ahkello Witherspoon (SF)—-#6 CB—-80.2
Jason Verrett (SF)—-#9 CB—-77.6
Brian Poole (NYJ)—-#11 CB—-77.1
Troy Hill (LAR)—-#18 CB—-73.7
William Jackson (CIN)—-#24 CB—-71.4
Ronald Darby (WAS)—-#31 CB—-69.8
Sidney Jones (JAX)—-#35 CB—-68.1
Desmond King (TEN)—-#42 CB-0—-67.0
- If you have any questions about a player and where he ranks, I will provide the answer for you.
What do you make of the rankings?
Which free agents (Cardinals’ and others) do you want to see the Cardinals sign this off-season?