Predicting the Arizona Cardinals’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Arizona Cardinals Free Agents
The Arizona Cardinals were one of the biggest surprises in the NFL in 2013. They were in the hardest division in the sport, yet they still went 10-6 and beat the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, the only team to do that all season.
They made some moves last season to bolster their team. They upgraded the quarterback position when they traded for Carson Palmer. This position was holding them back every year since Kurt Warner retired. They drafted Tyrann Mathieu and also signed veteran John Abraham.
They won many of their games with a great defense in 2013. They ranked sixth in total defense and allowed less than 15 points in a game seven times. Coach Bruce Arians did a great job with this team in his first year as head coach.
Now the Cards want to get back into the playoffs. They were eight points away from winning their last nine games in a row. To say they ended their season on roll would be an understatement. If they can continue that kind of production thanks to the fact that Palmer and Arians now know the system and the rest of the team is on board, they could be a scary team come 2014.
They still need to make some moves to be really good. They have some holes that need to be filled and some free agent decisions to make. These five players will help put this team over the hump. These are the five players the Arizona Cardinals will sign this offseason.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the team's NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
The Rashard Mendenhall experiment was awful in Arizona. He reported his worst season with over 50 carries in terms of yards per carry. He did score eight touchdowns, but fumbled a career high four times. Knowshon Moreno is coming off his best season as a pro. It was his first season where he broke the century mark in yards, and he scored double-digit touchdowns. He is now a free agent and with Montee Ball likely to be the go-to guy going forward, there is no room for him in Denver.
This defense is not missing much, but an upgrade in one of the inside linebacker positions can only help. Brandon Spikes would only add to one of the NFL's stingiest run defenses in the league. Despite the shaky way that his season ended in New England, he is still a major asset for whatever team gives him a shot. He has a great mean streak and has lost some of the immaturity he had in years past. He will be a great fit on a defense where he doesn't have to do much covering.
The Cards are going to be looking for a kicker once again this offseason. Jay Feeley's lasting impression in Arizona could be kicking his last kickoff to the wrong part of the field. Nick Folk has been extremely successful so far in his career. He may be the most sought after kicker behind Steve Hauschka in this year's class. The Cards are going to shoot for consistency this offseason, and Folk proved he could do that. This is the player Arians is going to go after if he can't pull Hauschka from the Hawks.
The tight end market is extremely interesting this offseason. You could take a chance on a young guy who could be a stud like Garrett Graham, a injury risk who has proven in the past like Jermichael Finley or go really cheap and re-sign Jake Ballard. Of course, the smart decision would be to go with a proven commodity that won't break the bank. That is where Scott Chandler comes in. He isn't exactly a household name thanks to playing for the Buffalo Bills. He could be extremely good for a team that will sorely need a check down player with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd stretching the field.
The Cardinals' fans have rooted for former Pittsburgh Steelers before. We talked about Mendenhall, although few actually cheered him. Joey Porter is a better example. The Cards could sorely use a player of stature at the back end of the defense. They were going with Yeremiah Bell who hasn't been notable since leaving Miami. Pair Ryan Clark with Patrick Peterson and Matteau at corner back and you could be talking competition with Seattle for ferocity of your secondary. The Cardinals and their fans would really like that.