On two different defensive units, the Arizona Cardinals have a key defensive player coming off his best NFL season that came during a contract year.
Safety Tony Jefferson, 24, is an unrestricted free agent after a career-best 2016, and 26-year-old linebacker Kevin Minter is in the same boat.
The good news for Cardinals fans is Jefferson expressed his interest in staying in the Valley this week. Minter is in the same boat.
“I would love to be here, I would love to finish my career here,” Minter said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Arizona Sports Saturday show.
The linebacker had a career-high 3.5 sacks in 2016, showing he is more than just an inside linebacker that will stop the run.
Still, it’s difficult for Minter to look back on a disappointing 2016 campaign for his team.
“We weren’t finishing games and that’s kind of what we pride ourselves on for the past few years,” Minter said.
Minter sees the potential of the group and believes the Cardinals grew throughout the season. He admitted that since he was drafted, he’s never seen the team have so many key players as free agents.
“There’s so many guys,” Minter said. “I haven’t seen this many key guys up for contracts on a team, ever.”
Along with Minter and Jefferson are defensive lineman Calais Campbell, pass rusher Chandler Jones and safety D.J. Swearinger, to name a few of the key offseason question marks for Arizona.
Should the roster remain intact, Minter is already looking ahead and sees the potential in the Cardinals’ defense for 2017.
“We didn’t get done what we wanted to get done, but at the same time, I feel like this team grew a lot through the season,” he said.
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