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Bargaining Phase for Cardinals: Free Agent and Draft Suggestions

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If it were up to me and I had a hotline to the GM, these are some free agent and draft suggestions that I would offer.

Unwieldy Contracts —-

  • LT D.J. Humphries: Trade, release or agree to a reasonable new contract. Frees up $14.3M. Kelvin Beachum played well at LT and Josh Jones is a budding talent at RT.
  • DT Jordan Phillips: Release. Frees up $4.1M in cap space (still having to eat $9.2M). But the rhetorical question becomes is the oft-injured Phillips worth the $4.1M to keep him on the roster?
  • LG Justin Pugh. Re-sign to a deal that pays him $4M a year for 2 years. Frees up $5M. He has said he wants to finish his career in Arizona and a good argument can be made that he is still one of the team’s best two or three offensive linemen. Had highest pass blocking grade among the starters (73.4) and committed only 2 penalties.
  • OLB Devon Kennard: Release. Frees up $4.9M in cap space.
  • MLB Jordan Hicks: Trade or release. Frees up $6M in cap space.

  • Arizona Cardinals Free Agent Signings (PFF Top 100 UFA Contract Projections)

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-2022-free-agent-rankings-free-agency

Prohibitive Contract Projections Per PFF:

  • OLB Chandler Jones —- Contract Projection: Two years, $33.5 million ($16.75M per year, $24 million total guaranteed)
  • WR Christian Kirk —- Contract Projection: Three years, $35 million ($11.67M per year, $24M total guaranteed)
  • TE Zach Ertz —- Contract Projection: Two years, $22 million ($11M per year, $12.5M total guaranteed)
  • RB Chase Edmonds —- Contract Projection: Two years, $12 million ($6M per year, $9 million total guaranteed)
  • CB Robert Alford —- Contract Projection: One year, $5 million fully guaranteed

Note: I would love to have Zach Ertz back, but $11M a year is too pricey, imo. Now —- if Ertz would accept a contract with similar guaranteed money ($12M) over two years at $7M a year, then LET’S GO! The toughest choice is between James Conner and Chase Edmonds, as both of them project at about the same salary. Can’t do both. Had to go with Conner’s 18 TDs and tremendous nose for the end zone. As with Zach Ertz, it would be great if Chase Edmonds would accept a deal that could fit him under the cap and give him the potential to cash in on production incentives.

Cardinals’ UFAs Signings (Recommended)

  • QB2 —- Colt McCoy (UFA ARI) —- 1 year, $2.5M
  • RB1 —- James Conner (UFA ARI) —- Contract Projection PFF: Two years, $12.8 million ($6.4M per year), $7.25 million total guaranteed
  • WR2 —- Marquez Valdez-Scantling (UFA GB) —- Contract Projection PFF: Three years, $25 million ($8.33M per year), $16 million total guaranteed
  • TE1 —- Maxx Williams (UFA ARI) —- Two years, $6M million ($3M per year), $4 million total guaranteed, plus production incentives.
  • RG —- Alex Cappa (UFA TB) —- Contract Projection PFF: Four years, $37 million ($9.25M per year), $20 million total guaranteed
  • WILB —- Alexander Johnson (UFA DEN) —-Contract Projection: PFF Two years, $13 million ($6.5M per year, $8M total guaranteed)
  • WOLB /ST Captain—- Dennis Gardeck (UFA ARI) —- Three years, $12M ($4M per year) with $9M total guaranteed, plus production incentives.
  • DT —- Folorunso Fatukasi (UFA NYJ) —- Contract Projection PFF: Three years, $25 million ($8.33 million per year, $15 million total guaranteed)
  • CB —- Charvarius Ward (UFA KC) —- Contract Projection PFF: Three years, $28.5 million ($9.5M per year, $18M total guaranteed)
  • P —- Andy Lee (UFA ARI) —- 1 year, $1.07M (same as last year)
  • LS —- Aaron Brewer (UFA ARI) —- 1 year $1.23M (same as last year)
  • ST —- Charles Washington —-1 year $987K (same as last year)
  • ST —- Zeke Turner —- 1 year $1M

2022 Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft (Recommended):

  • R1 —- DE George Karaftis, 6-4, 270, Purdue
  • R2 —- WR John Metchie III, 6-0, 195, Alabama
  • R3 —- CB Marcus Jones, 5-8, 175, Houston
  • R5 —- TE Josh Whyle, 6-6, 235, Cincinnati
  • R5 — CB Garrett Williams, 5-11, 188, Syracuse
  • R6—- C/G Dohnovan West, 6-3, 315, Arizona St.
  • R7 —- RB Sincere McCormick, 5-9, 209, UTSA
  • R7 —- QB E.J. Perry, 6-2, 200, Brown

53 Man Roster:

  • QB (2): Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy
  • RB (4): James Conner, Eno Benjamin, Jonathan Ward, Sincere McCormick
  • TE (2): Maxx Williams, Josh Whyle
  • WR (6): DeAndre Hopkins, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Rondale Moore, John Metchie III, Andy Isabella, Antoine Wesley
  • OL (9): Kelvin Beachum, Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, Alex Cappa, Josh Jones, Justin Murray, Sean Harlow, Donhovan West, Joshua Miles
  • DI (6): J.J., Watt, Rashard Lawrence, Zach Allen, Foloronsu Fatukasi, Leki Fotu, Michael Dogbe,
  • ILB (4): Zaven Collins, Alexander Johnson, Tanner Vallejo, Zeke Turner
  • OLB (6) Isaiah Simmons, Dennis Gardeck, George Karaftis, Markus Golden, Victor Dimukeje, Kylie Fitts
  • CB (6): Byron Murphy, Charvarius Ward, Marco Wilson, Marcus Jones, Garrett Williams, Kevin Peterson
  • S (5): Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Deionte Thompson, James Wiggins, Charles Washington
  • ST (3): Matt Prater, Andy Lee, Aaron Brewer
  • Note: if deals can be worked out with RB Chase Edmonds and TE Zach Ertz, then RB Sincere McCormick and OLB Kylie Fitts could go to the practice squad.

Offensive Players on Practice Squad (Recommended)

  • QB E.J. Perry
  • WR Greg Dortch
  • TE Bernhard Seikovitz
  • TE David Wells
  • OL Koda Martin

The bargaining stage can be a lot of fun when you start looking at tape. If you are unfamiliar with some of these free agents and draft picks, go on a google.com and youtube.com treasure hunt! I think and hope you may be pleasantly surprised.

Your turn —- what are your thoughts and suggestions?