First and foremost, the highest priority in house re-signing for 2021 for the Arizona Cardinals is OLB Haason Reddick. Was listening to Mike Jurecki and the B-Train yesterday, and they were making an argument that if the Cardinals can’t re-sign Reddick, then they could still be fine if they re-sign Markus Golden.
What’s frustrating to me when I hear the argument that it’s ok to let Haason Reddick walk is that he is by far the best and most natural 34 SAM OLB the Cardinals have ever had. Markus Golden is a good edge rusher in the nickel (and I hope the team has enough left over in the kitty to re-sign him), but neither Marcus Golden nor Chandler Jones can come even remotely close to what Haason Reddick can do at SAM.
Whether the Cardinals have to place the f-tag, t-tag or, best of all, agree to a 3-4 year deal with Haason Reddick, they fiercely need to hold on to and protect one of their top assets and core defensive players.
The next priority is to sign two UFA CBs to join Byron Murphy as the starting CB trio. The Cardinals need to get younger, faster and more physical at the CB position. I believe that one of the two CBs who makes the best sense is Sidney Jones, the former All American teammate of Budda Baker, Byron Murphy and Zeke Turner. Sidney Jones is a mid-level UFA, whom the Cardinals can sign for somewhere between $3-4M a year, plus incentives.
if it were up to me, the top CB on my list is Brian Poole. I would start Sidney Jones at LCB, Byron Murphy at RCB and Brian Poole in the slot —- or flip Murphy and Poole depending on the matchups . My guess is that Brian Poole is going to command a yearly salary in the $7-8M range. if so, the Cardinals could sign two new, younger, more aggressive CBs for $10-11M, the same figure that it would likely take to re-sign just Patrick Peterson.
Under no circumstances should the Cardinals re-sign Peterson or Dre Kirkpatrick. And once they release Robert Alford, if Alford wants to come back on the vet minimum with incentives, then so be it. But, as is the case with T Marcus Gilbert, it feels like the Cardinals would be better off developing younger players at those positions.
Next, it’s time to upgrade the WR unit and with Shawn Jefferson as the new WR coach, reuniting him with two WRs he’s already had success coaching feels like a very smart thing to do. The two WRs that make the most sense to me are slot WR Jamison Crowder whom the Jets make release or trade because of his $10M base salary and WR Kenny Stills (who has ties to both Shawn Jefferson and DeAndre Hopkins). Crowder and Stills combined will likely cost the Cardinals $11-12M and both bring instant playmaking ability to the offense, particularly from the slot where they need it the most.
Will Fuller, Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson are too pricey. Plus, Fuller still has to serve one more game of his 2020 PED suspension. Under no circumstances should the Cardinals trade their 2021 1st round pick for another WR who is going to command close to $20M a year.
The next priority is to add a prolific run stuffer at DT to fill Corey Peters’ big cleats. I highlighted DaQuan Jones in my “Football Jones” thread and I feel like he is exactly the kind of big, tough interior linemen the Cardinals need. At 29, DaQuan Jones will probably make $4-5M a year. The Cardinals drafted four DIs the past two years (Zach Allen, Michael Dogbe, Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence), thus this year it would be best to add a key veteran run stuffer to compliment Jordan Phillips as an interior pass rusher.
Aside from resigning TE Dan Arnold, OLB Dennis Gardeck, ILB Tanner Vallejo, ILB Zeke Turner, P Andy Lee, S Charles Washington and S Chris Banjo —- that will just about do it for free agency —- because now it is time to use the draft in order to finish building the offensive line. Then it would be good for the Cardinals add a talented ILB and dynamic RB in order to make the Cardinals one of the strongest teams up the middle in the NFL.
This is a draft where the Cardinals should trade down to add an extra pick or two, primarily because there are three stud guard prospects in the Round 1 in Rashwwn Slater (Northwestern), Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC) and Wyatt Davis (Ohio St.) and at least one of those three will be available later on in Round 1.
Round 1 (with trade down to acquire a 3rd or 4th round pick): Cardinals take one of the top guards here: Slater, Vera-Tucker or Davis. All three of them are excellent.
Round 2: Cardinals take one of the top centers here: Landon Dickerson (Alabama), Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma), Josh Myers (Ohio St.) or Quinn Meinerz (Wisconsin-Whitewater).
Round 3: Cardinals take one of the top remaining RBs here: Trey Sermon (Ohio St.), Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma St) or, Jermar Jefferson (Oregon St.). Note: if it just so happens that Javonte Williams in on the board at pick #48 (Round 2), the Cardinals can take him and hope that one of the top 4 centers is still on the board at pick #79 —-because chances are one of them will. But, the way the Cardinals want to bang the football between the tackles, if Javonte Williams is already gone in Round 2, wouldn’t Trey Sermon be a superb fit in Round 3? I am also a huge fan of Jermar Jefferson —- that baller is tough as nails.
Round 3/4 (trade acquisition): Cardinals take the best ILB prospect here in Pete Werner (Ohio St.), Chazz Surratt (UNC), Jabril Cox (LSU), Tony Fields (WVU), Baron Browning (Ohio St.), Dylan Moses (Alabama), K.J. Britt (Auburn). The three I love here are Werner, Surratt and Fields.
Round 5: Cardinals take one of the top remaining CBs in Tay Gowan (UCF), Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma St.), Tre Brown (Oklahoma), Thomas Graham, Jr. (Oregon), Trill Williams (Syracuse), Keith Taylor (Washington), Shakur Brown (Michigan St.), Kary Vincent (LSU), Israel Mukamu (South Carolina), Camryn Bynum (California), Deommodore Lenoir (Oregon), Amry Thomas (Michigan), Marco Wilson (Florida). There is some good depth and talent here.
Round 7: Cardinals take a kicker here: Jose Borregales (Miami), Riley Patterson (Memphis), Alex Kessman (Pittsburgh), Evan McPherson (Florida), Keith Duncan (Iowa), Blake Haubell (Ohio St.).
The 2021 NFL Draft sets up very well for a team like the Cardinals that wants to add talent to the interior of the offensive line. if the Cardinals can sign UFA C Corey Linsley (GB), then that would open up the 1st or 2nd round pick for another position. But, otherwise, the offensive line talent in this draft is made to order for the Cardinals and it easily facilitates trading down in Round 1. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay don't often agree on too many things, but they both agree that this is the best and deepest draft for offensive lineman they have seen in years.
Kyler Murray has made it clear that he hopes the Cardinals add talent up front. Well then , here you go, Kyler!