With yesterday’s excellent signing of stud all-purpose TE Maxx Williams. the Arizona Cardinals have managed to re-sign every one of the in-house priority free agents. Wow.
One cannot highlight enough what a significant coup this is by the Cardinals. Each of these core players are telling us how impressed they are with the direction of the team, with the building of a brotherhood and with the confidence they have in head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Best of all, each of the core players cites a common purpose: to make a full-bore run at a championship.
- Top Receiving TE —- Zach Ertz
- Top Blocking TE —- Maxx Williams
- Top G —- Justin Pugh
- Alpha RB —- James Conner
- Invaluable QB2 —- Colt McCoy
- Quickest Edge Rusher —- Dennis Gardeck
- Best Edge Setter —- Devon Kennard
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky has been stating recently how Cardinals’ free agents are getting plucked. Yes. Cardinals’ free agents are in vogue, particularly in light of how successful LBs DeVondre Campbell and Haason Reddick were last season.
- ILB DeVondre Campbell —- 5 years for $50M —- GB
- OLB Haason Reddick —- 3 years for $45M —- PHI
- C/G Mason Cole —- 3 years for $15.75M —- PIT
- OLB Chandler Jones —- 3 years for $51M —- LV
- WR Christian Kirk —- 4 years for $72M —- JAX
- RB Chase Edmonds —- 2 years for $12M —- MIA
Make no mistake about it, the core free agents whom the Cardinals just re-signed were garnering significant attention and interest from other NFL teams.
Obviously, the Cardinals had to prioritize their 22 free agents in light of their current cap space. In my opinion, the Cardinals prioritized the right ones. Chandler Jones made it clear that he was looking for a better system fit for his talents. He was never coming back through that door.
Christian Kirk signed an astonishing contract which one can assume that no other team would have been willing to offer.
The Cardinals made offers to both James Conner and Chase Edmonds and when Connor agreed to his, the Cardinals had to pull their offer to Edmonds because they could not realistically afford both RBs at primo salaries, as much as they would have liked.
The Cardinals’ goal was to make sure that they at least held on to one of their two prize RBs.
What a TE tandem coup for re-signing both Zach Ertz and M-a-x-x Williams. Ertz/Williams are putting the romance back into the team's "12" personnel, to the delight of James Conner and Kyler Murray. ⭐️— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 16, 2022
The have signed every one of their own UFAs that, imo, were top priority in-house keepers. Wish sign slot CB Bryce Callahan, DT/DE Calais Campbell, LB Myles Jack, Edge Justin Houston, G Will Hernandez, WR Will Fuller (prove it deal) and draft WR + EDGE + RB.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 16, 2022
Scratch Myles Jack (signed a two year #16M deal with the Steelers). Next ILB up: how about A.J. Johnson (DEN)?
What other free agents are on your wish list?
Glad to Sign Gladney
According to Gambo, CB Jeff Gladney was being courted by 12 NFL teams including the Rams and 49ers. Gambo believes that the former 2020 1st round pick of the Vikings will be an immediate starter, likely at LCB opposite RCB Marco Wilson.
If you haven’t seen Jeff Gladney college highlights at TCU, feast your eyes on these:
As many of you know, I am a huge fan of TCU defensive backs via the outstanding coaching of former head coach and defensive icon Gary Patterson (now a defensive consultant at University of Texas). You might recall that my favorite defensive player whom I thought might be available at pick #16 in the 2021 NFL Draft was S/slot CB Trevon Moehrig. Turns out Moehrig not only made the 2021 NFL All-Rookie Team, according to RaidersWire:
Moehrig has allowed just 90 receiving yards on 585 coverage snaps this season. He’s been one of the league’s best coverage safeties and he has improved as a run defender, as well. He’s been an all-around great player for the Raiders this season.
When I was studying Moehrig’s film I found him to have elite feet and sticky cover ability.
Jeff Gladney is more of a stud edge CB whom Lance Zierlein of NFL.com comped very aptly to Sidney Jones.
Adding a talented developmental outside CB in Jeff Gladney takes sting out including Tay Gowan in Ertz trade. For those of us who wanted Sidney Jones, Gladney's a similar baller. But, still desperately needs a slot CB to dawg Krupp, Deebo and Lockett. Slot CB. imo, #1 need.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 16, 2022
In his rookie season with the Vikings, Gladney struggled playing the slot —- as the vast majority of young CBs do.
The Cardinals MUST sign or draft a slot CB.
Byron Murphy is not quick enough. He's good on the outside, but inside he struggles like most CBs do. You have to have the special kind of quick feet and stickiness to excel in the slot. Bryce Callahan in FA or Trent McDuffie at #23, best choices, imo.I like Roger McCready too.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 16, 2022
I believe that Jeff Gladney is an excellent fit at LCB and could win that job with an excellent training camp. It’s very exiting to have three talented young CBs in Byron Murphy, Jeff Gladney and Marco Wilson.
Now, please Cardinals, bring us the dawg who can cover the BIG FOUR of Kupp, Woods, Samuel and Lockett.
I worry about the same thing, Dan. For 3 years now Krupp, Woods, Samuel and Lockett have gone off on the Cards CBs, giving the opposing QBs a ton of confidence and the team has not made slot CB a priority. Byron Murphy isn't quick enough for those slot studs. He's best outside— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 16, 2022
I think that Byron Murphy could also be a huge asset at nickel FS, where he has the best ball instincts and range.
Just made a quick 3 round mock: (assuming the Cardinals sign a slot CB)