The Arizona Cardinals boasted one of the league’s top defenses in 2015, finishing the season with the fifth-ranked unit. Despite their overall strength, they’ll have high-profile linebackers hitting the open market which means they may be looking to make a big splash at the position. Pro Bowl linebacker Tamba Hali‘s contract was just voided by the Kansas City Chiefs making him an excellent free agent target.
Hali has played multiple positions in his college and professional career, possibly increasing his market value. The six-time Pro Bowl selection led the AFC in sacks (14.5) in 2010 and has totaled 86 throughout his career. Hali has also forced 32 fumbles and has two interceptions.
Linebackers LaMarr Woodley, Sean Witherspoon, Dwight Freeney and Jason Babin are all unrestricted free agents in Arizona. Even if one or more would return, Hali is a natural pass rusher who would help the defense apply pressure to the quarterback without exotic blitz packages.
If the Cardinals should sign Hali, they’ll still need to address the position through the draft to get a little younger. The 32-year-old linebacker would be a considerable upgrade for the next two or three years, which would allow a young player to ease his way in rather than be thrown in before he may be ready.
Arizona won’t be the only team vying for Hali’s services, so they’ll have to be willing to give the linebacker a rich contract. The Cardinals will have just north of $15 million available this offseason, so they have the resources to make this move happen.