After a lackluster 2022 season, the Arizona Cardinals have cleaned house heading into the offseason. With a new head coach in former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, this team is going to look very different heading into next season.
The Cardinals finished the 2022 season with a 4-13 record and a last berth in the NFC West. With their poor finish, they have the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Along with a first pick, they are also expected to have the 10th most salary cap space in the league.
With a roster that needs to improve, the Cardinals could become major playmakers in the coming months. This could include trading his star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. It could also lead to them bringing in several free agents that could immediately improve this team.
On both offense and defense, the Cardinals could use additional playmakers. In the coming weeks, they could try to address several important needs.
Here are five good crafty free agents the Cards could target in free agency.
The Cardinals were hopeful that when they added veteran running back James Conner, they would be in the job. And while he’s racked up two solid seasons, the team could look to add another proven ball carrier. This could happen to Chicago Bears running back David Montogomery.
During his four NFL seasons, Montgomery has been one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL. In total, he has recorded 3,609 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns on 915 total carries. Through the air, he has 155 receptions for 1,240 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.
Montgomery is a dynamic playmaker who can make his presence felt both in the air and on the ground. For a Cardinals offense that needs firepower, he could be an intriguing option. A backfield with him and Conner leading the charge could be exactly what the offense needs.
Darius Slayton, wide receiver, giants
If the Cardinals look to part with Hopkins, they could have several options on the open market. A key target could be New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton.
Slayton has proven to be a reliable force on the field. Through 59 career games, he has recorded 170 receptions for 2,554 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.
At times, Slayton has had trouble holding on to the ball. But his speed and his overall playmaking ability make him a strong choice for any offense.
If Slayton is ready to put the Giants behind him, the Cardinals could be an ideal landing spot.
DJ Chark, wide receiver, lions
Another option at wide receiver could be Detroit Lions pass catcher DJ Chark. During his five NFL seasons, Chark has been somewhat inconsistent. But when he’s healthy, he’s proven to be a playmaker.
Through his 54 career games, Chark has recorded 177 receptions for 2,544 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns. This includes a 1,000-yard reception and eight-touchdown year in his second NFL season.
In 11 games last season, Chark recorded 30 receptions for 502 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Chark could be an affordable option for the Cardinals. If he’s looking to prove he can still perform at a high level, joining a team like the Cardinals could be a great fit for Chark.
Matt Ioannidis, Defensive end, Panthers
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals could look to tackle the trenches. This could include adding a proven veteran to the cap. Carolina Panthers defensive end Matt Ioannidis could be an option for this team.
During his seven NFL seasons, he has taken the field in 86 total games. In all, he has recorded 212 total tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 68 quarterback hits and 25.5 tackles for loss.
Last season, his only year with the Panthers, Ioannidis showed that he can still perform at a high level. Through 13 games, he recorded 37 total tackles, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits and one sack.
With his arrival, the Cardinals would gain a solid veteran on the defensive front. This could be a move that makes sense for both sides.
Cameron Sutton, cornerback, Steelers
The secondary could also be an area the Cardinals look to add depth. One name they might keep an eye on is Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton.
Sutton has been a staple in the Steelers’ secondary since 2017, but last season he played arguably the best football of his career. Through 16 games and 15 starts, he recorded 43 total tackles, one tackle for loss, 15 passes defensed and three interceptions.
With his arrival, Sutton would give the Cardinals a starter at cornerback. For a defense that needs help at position, he could be a reliable option.