There have been a lot of big names moving around the NFL in free agency so far. The Seahawks NFC West rival Cardinals have been as active as any team.
While the Seahawks took their time to get into the free agent market, the same can’t be said for their NFC West division rivals. Seattle has signed just five free agents so far, three of them re-signing with the team. We like the moves a lot; in fact, I think the signings are underrated. But there’s no denying that their division rivals are loading up for 2019.
Let’s look at the Arizona Cardinals first. All data is from the wonderful site spotrac.com. Jump here to visit their excellent free agent tracker. You can sort by name, position, former team, new team, contract terms….well, you get the idea. Just one further note: Spoctrac lists the details of the contract once the team makes the official announcement. Might not be as fast as a random Twitter account, but it will be correct.
Okay, so back to the Cardinals. So far Arizona has signed nine players, all new to the team. Two, in fact, were Seahawks last year, guard J.R. Sweezy and quarterback Brett Hundley. Sweezy is a tough loss, although I expect Seattle has a more than adequate replacement between Mike Iupati and Jordan Simmons. None of the Cardinals signings is the type that makes you double-check the schedule, but they’ve added some quality talent.
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Suggs brings the heat to the NFC West
To me, the best acquisition is a name that puts a lot of fear in opposing quarterbacks. This would be pass rushing specialist Terrell Suggs. He’ll turn 37 in the middle of the 2019 season, but he’s only one year removed from his most recent Pro Bowl season, one of seven. He had seven sacks last year, thirteen tackles for a loss, yet still managed six pass defenses, too. Despite his age, I’m not thrilled to see him in the NFC West.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks is probably the next best addition. As our compatriots at RaisingZona wrote, HIcks is a high risk, high reward gamble. While healthy, he’s one of the league’s better linebackers. Pro Football Focus ranked him as 10th in the league last year, and in the top five in 2016. The problem is 2016 was the only year he was healthy.
To round out the newest Cardinals, let’s look at cornerback Robert Alford. He’s coming off one of his worst seasons for the Falcons, undoubtedly why they let him walk. He had zero interceptions for the first time ever. It’s not like he’s exactly a ballhawk anyway with 10 career interceptions in six seasons. He’s there for depth and the nickel package.
As for the rest, tight end Charles Clay will give Arizona another target and likely start in place of the woefully inconsistent Ricky Seals-Jones. They also added defensive lineman Brooks Reed from the Falcons, wide receiver Kevin White from the Bears, and guard Max Garcia from Denver. Reed and Garcia are there for depth, while White is… let’s just say he’s a project. He has 4.35 speed, but also just 25 catches in three seasons in Chicago, including just four last year.
As for the free agents the Cardinals lost, I have to say the impact is pretty minimal. It’s certainly far less than the players the Seahawks lost. We all knew it was going to happen, but losing Earl Thomas is a huge hit for 2019. Arizona’s biggest loss could well be Mike Iupati, if he’s healthy in Seattle. No stars left the team. Visit spotrac.com for their rundown on the Cardinals free agents.
We’ll visit the Rams next. After all, they’re the big boys on the block in the division. At least for now, they are. Oddly, they’ve been very quiet in free agency so far with just one signing. The bigger story for them is probably in who they might lose. We’ll take a look at them next time.