2014 NFL Offseason: 5 Free Agents the Arizona Cardinals Should Target
Arizona Cardinals: 5 Free Agents They Should Target
Led by a tough defense and timely offense, the Arizona Cardinals went 10-6 during the 2013 season. When you have a record like that, you expect to be playing in the postseason. Unfortunately for Arizona, it missed the playoffs because it played in the most competitive division in the NFL. The team was surely disappointed, but this season should help catapult it into future success.
Defensively, this team was great all season long. The Cardinals gave up 20.3 points per game (seventh best in the NFL), 317.4 yards per game (sixth best), including only 84.4 rushing yards per game, which was the least in the entire NFL. Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett lead the way up front, they have an impressive group of pass rushers led by John Abraham and a talented secondary filled with potential led by Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
Offensively, the Cardinals were much better this season with quarterback Carson Palmer under center. They were also able to run the ball well with Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd also give Palmer one of the most dynamic WR duo in the NFL. Arizona has plenty of potential offensively, but it seems to be held back by poor offensive line play. Improving the O-Line should be near the top of its list this offseason.
The Cardinals are now a legitimate contender in the NFC. If they expect to continue to be in the conversation, the team must improve certain areas on the team this offseason. They will have some cap space to work with, and the free agent class is pretty good this offseason. Here are five free agents that the Cardinals should be considering.
5. Dennis Pitta, TE
Current Arizona tight end Robert Housler has some impressive athletic ability, but the Cardinals received almost zero production from the position in 2013. Dennis Pitta was huge for the Baltimore Ravens during their Super Bowl run in the 2012, attacking the middle of the field as well as any TE in the league. Pitta struggled with a hip injury for most of the 2013 season, but appeared to be healthy down the stretch. He would be a huge upgrade for the Cardinals at a position where they really need one.
4. Wesley Woodyard, LB
The Cardinals were the worst team in the entire NFL at defending the tight end position, and by a wide margin. The team struggled with the position all season long. Wesley Woodyard may be a tough fit for the Cardinals defense, but he is one of the best coverage linebackers in the league. Signing him would help the team tremendously in their struggles to defend the TE position.
3. Karlos Dansby, LB
Karlos Dansby is one of the most important players on the Arizona defense. He is a huge reason why the Cardinals had the top run defense in the NFL in 2013. If Arizona expects to continue to be an elite defensive team, bringing back Dansby will be key.
2. Jared Veldheer, LT
The Cardinals have one of the worst offensive lines in the league. The team struggled to find time for Palmer to throw. They have impressive offensive skill position players, but if the line continues to be putrid, it will not even matter.
Jared Veldheer is a good left tackle. He is strong at both protecting the QB and in the running game. Size, speed and athleticism, Veldheer is the total package, and would be an incredible addition to the Arizona offense.
1. Alex Mack, C
As I have mentioned throughout this piece, the Cardinals have a terrible offensive line. Alex Mack is one of the best interior offensive lineman in the league. He was second team All-Pro at the center position. Mack does a great job in both run blocking and in pass protection. He is also a valuable leader that would help Palmer and Fitzgerald lead the offensive side of the ball.
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