Two weeks ago, I wrote about the sense of frustration surrounding the team’s quiet offseason so far. Since then, the team has done… next to nothing.
They signed Will Hernandez to compete at one of the guard spots, added a backup TE in Stephen Anderson, and resigned backup WR Antoine Wesley. Yawn.
Either the team doesn’t like this year’s free agent class, they couldn’t afford the ones they did like, or GM Steve Keim has a real humdinger of an ace up his sleeve in the trade market. Hey, he’s done it before.
But there are still some quality players left in the free agent marketplace. For fun—since it seems the team is just going to stand pat for now—let’s see if any of the top remaining free agents are a fit for the Redbirds.
Note: The Cardinals only have about $6.4M left in cap space at this point.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
WR is definitely a position of need—the aforementioned Wesley is probably third on the depth chart right now, behind DeAndre Hopkins and second-year player Rondale Moore. (Don’t even mention Andy Isabella.) Beckham would seem to fit nicely opposite D-Hop, right? Well, he tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and is almost certainly out of our price range even coming off that serious injury. Cardinals fans can dream, but I don’t see this one happening.
WR Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown, the football player, could definitely help the Cardinals (see above), and he’d likely come cheaper than Beckham. But Antonio Brown, the human being, is the reason he’d be cheaper. We all remember what happened the last time he was on a football field, and he’s had a litany of strange off-field incidents as well. The Cardinals are wisely staying away from him.
OT Duane Brown
Although it would be nice to pilfer a Pro Bowl player from a division rival, the Cardinals are set at tackle with D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum/Josh Jones. Would Brown be an upgrade? Sure. But the team can’t afford to spend any money on an older player who would be a luxury addition.
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
Now here’s an interesting name. The team has done nothing to replace the departed Chandler Jones in the pass rush. The cupboard isn’t entirely bare with Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck, and Devon Kennard, but Jones is a huge void to fill, even if his production had been slipping. Clowney would be a huge get, just the kind of move Cardinals fans have been waiting for. It’s a longshot, but surely Keim could find a way to bring him in on a 1-year deal if his market continues to be stagnant. Would love to see this happen, although a return to Cleveland is probably most likely.
CB Stephon Gillmore
Here’s another big name at a position of need that is curiously still available. Gillmore, who has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons and is getting up there (32), isn’t the same player he was when he won DPOY in 2019, but he’d be an upgrade for the Cardinals, who still have Marco Wilson as CB2 on the depth chart. I doubt signing him would break the bank, but if Keim was going to make a move like this, wouldn’t it already have happened?
TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski is the worst fit of anyone on this list for two reasons. One, we’re more than set at TE with Zach Ertz, Maxx Williams, and, apparently, Stephen Anderson. And two, there’s no way Gronk ever plays for another QB besides Tom Brady. And he might even retire anyway. No chance.
DT Akiem Hicks
This team definitely needs help on the interior of the D-line, with the underwhelming duo of Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu the only real names on the depth chart. Hicks could be a good fit if he can stay healthy, which has been his issue of late. This is the exact type of signing that put Keim on the map. Maybe he can recapture that “Keim Time” magic and Hicks can recapture his Pro Bowl form playing next to J.J. Watt? Or would they both just wind up on IR by November?
S Tyrann Mathieu
What about the Honey Badger returning to the desert? Uh, no. There is clearly some bad blood that goes both ways, and the Cardinals are more than set at safety with one of the best duos in the league, Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson. Maybe if he played slot corner instead? I doubt he’d be amenable to that and, like I said, there’s bad blood in the water. The Honey Badger is not a fit for this team.
Of all the names on the list, Beckham and Clowney intrigue me the most, but probably don’t make sense financially. Both Browns, Gronk, and Mathieu are poor fits for various reasons. That leaves Gillmore and Hicks are the only real fits—they’d fill positions of need and might be affordable with a little number crunching.
But I doubt either move will happen. This team seems content to run it back with 80% of last year’s lineup and no contract extension for our QB. Sounds like a recipe for success, doesn’t it?
Any of these names intrigue you, Cardinals fans? Or anyone else still available out there? Let us know in the comments.