The Arizona Cardinals are a total mess. The question isn’t whether changes are coming this offseason, it’s how sweeping those changes will be. We break it all down with our Cardinals offseason preview, exploring their free agents, cut candidates, and needs.
Arizona Cardinals Offseason Preview: A Failure in the Desert
It was just 10 months ago that coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim signed contract extensions written to keep them in their existing roles through the 2027 season.
That seems laughable at this point. Keim is on indefinite medical leave but doesn’t deserve to come back to work when that issue is resolved. He built a totally flawed roster, and Kingsbury has done a terrible job making the most of it.
Then there’s the Cardinals’ mess at quarterback. Kyler Murray got an extension of his own this offseason (five years, $230 million) but was a below-average producer before tearing his ACL.
The injury could keep him out of the 2023 opener, and is guaranteed to impact his play even if it doesn’t.
Murray is a lock to return in 2023 for the Cardinals, who pick in the top 10 for the third time in five years. Beyond that, everyone is up for evaluation.
Cardinals’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Cardinals had $20.3 million in 2023 salary cap space as of early January, 12th-most in the NFL.
That figure includes $9.2 million in dead cap and $1 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Cardinals Free Agents 2023
The following Cardinals players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA; exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- DE Zach Allen
- TE Stephen Anderson
- S Chris Banjo
- OT Kelvin Beachum
- LS Aaron Brewer
- DE Michael Dogbe
- WR Greg Dortch (RFA)
- G Cody Ford
- G Max Garcia
- WR A.J. Green
- OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill
- CB Antonio Hamilton
- G Sean Harlow
- G Will Hernandez
- DT Trysten Hill
- C Rodney Hudson
- P Andy Lee
- QB Trace McSorley
- CB Byron Murphy
- LB Ben Niemann
- K Matt Prater
- G Billy Price
- G Justin Pugh
- ILB Ezekiel Turner
- OLB Tanner Vallejo
- OLB Nick Vigil
- S Charles Washington
- DE J.J. Watt
- WR Antoine Wesley (ERFA)
- RB Darrel Williams
- TE Maxx Williams
Defensive End J.J. Watt
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Two years, $15.4 million ($7.7 million AAV)
Overview: J.J. Watt knows when to say when. He plans to retire this offseason. It’s time. He followed up a 10-year, injury-truncated run with the Houston Texans with a two-year, injury-truncated stint with the Arizona Cardinals. 2022 was the fifth time in seven seasons Watt was unable to play a full season. He did go out on a relative high note though. After a disappointing 2021, he rebounded this past season with his most sacks since 2018.
Defensive End Zach Allen
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Two years, $12.7 million ($6.3 million AAV)
Overview: A lot of what we’ve written about Watt could apply to Allen, too. The 2019 third-round draft pick was having the best season of his young career: 5.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits, and 10 tackles for losses before suffering a hand injury that needed surgery. Allen probably isn’t a No. 1 pass rusher on an elite defense, but with nearly three-dozen starts in his four-year career, there will be a market for his services as a rotational piece.
Potential Cut Candidates
- WR Robbie Anderson ($12 million in cap savings)
- C Rodney Hudson ($5.7 million)
- OLB Markus Golden ($3.1 million)
- OLB Dennis Gardeck ($3 million)
Cardinals’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Defensive Tackle
- Running Back
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.