Free agency and working with an August salary cap
The Cardinals are currently sitting with approximately 5 million dollars in salary cap space. They are also working on a new contract for DeAndre Hopkins so at the most I think they could open up about 8 million dollars. With their team not needing much else, cornerback is where the rest of the cap should be used, but what players would fit this price tag?
Kirkpatrick is my top option as he is an outside corner and at just age 30 I think he has plenty left in the tank to contribute in 2020. On top of his abilities, he has a familiarity with coordinator Vance Joseph as they were both together in Cincinnati when Joseph was coaching their defensive backs.
Kirkpatrick has been fairly consistent, starting at least 13 games each year from 2015 to 2018 but did have a significant injury in 2019. Therefore the Cardinals would need to do their due diligence to not sign another player that can’t play in 2020. Another upside to Kirkpatrick is his cost, as he has not shown any demand in free agency so he could play on a prove-it one year deal.
The most common name flying around right now is Ryan’s. He has been an above-average cornerback in the league for multiple years but has been moved inside to slot corner and during this offseason even showed interest in moving to safety.
This is not a position of need for the Cardinals as Byron Muphy can fill the slot and the true need is an outside corner. Logan Ryan also comes with a large price tag, one the Cardinals may be able to afford but it is not worth the cap space.
The Cardinals could look at a familiar face in Williams but he is starting to age himself out of the outside corner position. In 2018 he returned to Green Bay where he split time between safety and corner.
In 2019 the Packers moved him back to corner but he split time between slot and outside corner. He still shows strong coverage skills but I don’t think he would benefit from playing strictly outside at this point in his career.
After two years of disappointment for the New York Jets, Johnson could be looking for a prove-it deal in 2020. He has had a laundry list of injuries allowing him to only play in all 16 games in three of his six years in the league. Although he has been very sporadic, he has shown some flashes as a pro and would be an average-floor, high-ceiling signing for the Cardinals in 2020.
The last player that the Cardinals may look at is Talib who also played for Vance Joseph during his stay in Denver. Talib has also struggled with injuries recently but just a few years ago was seen as one of the top corners in the league.
Age and injuries would strongly play into a contract decision with Talib as well as his fit in the locker room. His presence may not be what the Cardinals are ultimately looking for moving forward with a young core of players.
Overall I think the Cardinals find a way to move forward with their current roster and one addition, my personal favorite being Dre Kirkpatrick due to his ties to Joseph and the potential for a smaller salary than some of the other options. They may also look to bring back a player like undrafted free agent Bejour Wilson who was released prior to the Alford injury.