The Arizona Cardinals started off free agency with a bang. They quickly showed they would be players in the 2021 offseason by signing JJ Watt following his release from the Houston Texans. This addition came days before the legal tampering period due to Watt’s release and allowed the Cardinals to fill a large void on the team, allowing them to focus on other needs at the opening of free agency.
Quality over Quantity
Anyone that has followed the Arizona Cardinals offseason has heard this phrase repeated over and over again. As cliqued as it sounds fans have been very receptive to the motto and approach of both Steve Keim and the team’s management up to this point.
In the past, they have proven to be a franchise that pursues their team needs by signing as many players as possible at each position of need. However, this year they focused on finding fewer, well-known, proven veteran players that would be difference-makers. This included the signing of the previously stated defensive lineman JJ Watt, as well as wide receiver AJ Green, and cornerback Malcolm Butler.
One of the biggest moves of the offseason was a trade to help protect Kyler Murray and fortify the offensive line. In a crazy series of events, Rodney Hudson — an All-Pro center for the Las Vegas Raiders — was said to be cut but before that transaction was finalized the Cardinals swooped in to steal Hudson for just a third-round pick.
Now for anyone curious, he was also brought in on a contract lower than that of the highly sought-after center Corey Linsley who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. After fulfilling their needs at defensive end, wide receiver, cornerback, and center, the Cardinals left themselves with few holes to fill.
They also prioritized multiple other needs by signing their own free agents. Although they could not retain Patrick Peterson or Haason Reddick, the Cardinals did hold on to two quietly productive pieces of their defense in linebackers Markus Golden and tendered linebacker Dennis Gardeck.
They signed Robert Alford back as well on a team-friendly contract in hopes he could stay healthy and play a rotational role at cornerback. On the offensive side of the ball, they signed Kelvin Beachum and Max Garcia back to fill the right tackle and backup interior offensive line spots completing the vision of Sean Kugler.
After all these moves the Cardinals were left with few holes that include a second cornerback, running back, pass-catching tight end, wide receiver, and defensive depth at defensive tackle and outside linebacker.