Saying the Arizona Cardinals were active this offseason might be an understatement after adding 14 unrestricted free agents since March.
General manager Monti Ossenfort made a big effort adding players to team friendly deals that are familiar with Jonathan Gannon’s coaching staff as well as the upper management.
The Cardinals’ roster has plenty of intrigue and presents ample opportunities for these new additions to sign. Even with that said, their roster holes are not as glaring after the results of the NFL Draft but plenty of needs and uncertainty as some positions remain.
Here are four free agents for the Cardinals to consider with ties to their front office and coaching staff:
Kareem Hunt - Running Back
Kareem Hunt continues to be a name that is swirling on social media platforms as a potential fit on the Arizona Cardinals’ offense. The biggest reason he makes sense for Arizona is because of their offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, who served as a tight ends and quarterbacks coach in Cleveland over the last few seasons. Secondly, the Cardinals are in need of a No. 2 running back behind incumbent starter James Conner. Currently on their roster, they have Corey Clement, second-year running back Keaontay Ingram, and Ty’Son Williams. These are young running backs with some experience but will be given a chance to claim the No. 2 job for now. Undrafted free agent Emari Demercado out of TCU could surprise as he gashed one the nation’s top college defenses in Michigan with 150 rushing yards in place of the injured starter Kendre Miller last year.
Jesse James - Tight End
Since the Arizona Cardinals hired Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon, they had made a continuous effort signing players that they have worked with in the past. And the same goes for Dave Sears, the Cardinals’ assistant general manager and former Lions’ director of college scouting. They already added two former Lions in quarterbacks David Blough and Jeff Driskel. Considering Zach Ertz tore his ACL in December and the uncertainty of when he will be ready to play, the Cardinals should explore signing eight-year veteran Jesse James. The 28-year-old tight end played his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2015-18) and spent two seasons in Detroit (2019-20) while recently making stints with the Bears and the Browns. Last year’s second-round pick Trey McBride will be counted on heavily as the starting tight end as he mans a position that is considered a quarterback’s best friend.
Ben Jones - Center
Due to the lack of experience at center on the Arizona Cardinals’ roster, it might be best for them to sign a proven veteran and Ben Jones is the best available free agent for the job. Cardinals’ general manager Monti Ossenfort is familiar with Jones in his time on the Tennessee Titan’s front office as their director of player personnel. Jones made 151 starts out of 172 games in his career since 2012. He has been one of the most reliable centers in the NFL over the last decade. For now, free agent acquisition Hjalte Frojoldt is operating as the Cardinals’ top center as rookie fourth-round pick Jon Gaines II continues to impress during practices.
Arthur Maulet - Cornerback
Maulet is a six-year NFL veteran that played in 68 career games including 20 starts. Over the last two seasons, he operated as a slot cornerback on the Pittsburgh Steelers and was productive with 106 tackles, two sacks, and an interception. Though he played primarily special teams in 2018, Maulet was coached by then-Indianapolis Colts’ defensive backs coach and current Cardinals’ head coach Jonathan Gannon. With third-round pick Garrett Williams not able to do on-field work until July, it might be best for Arizona to add a veteran slot cornerback to the mix.