ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN: Cardinals the best fit for free agent guard Kevin Zeitler

Mar 6, 2017, 11:12 AM | Updated: 1:22 pm
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) celebrates his touchdown with guard Kevin Zeitle...
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) celebrates his touchdown with guard Kevin Zeitler, left, and center Russell Bodine during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants in Cincinnati, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

On March 7, NFL teams will be allowed to start contacting the agents for free agents.

On March 9, they can start signing them.

As it all pertains to the Arizona Cardinals, it’s difficult to predict who they might be interested in. They have holes to fill, yes, but with roughly $17 million in cap space it’s unlikely they will have a legitimate shot at some of the league’s best available players.

Then again, where there is a will there is a way, and the Cardinals may very well find a way to nab some impact players.

One such option could be Kevin Zeitler, a guard formerly with the Cincinnati Bengals whom ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes is a perfect fit in Arizona. In the Insider piece, Bowen explains scheme is a big part of his thought process.

The Cardinals’ vertical passing attack took a step backward in 2016. Now, there are multiple reasons for why that occurred, but it starts up front with an offensive line that surrendered 41 sacks. That impacted Bruce Arians’ game plan and the overall production from quarterback Carson Palmer. Adding Zeitler — the best interior offensive lineman on the market — allows the Cardinals to get younger and more athletic up front. Zeitler’s ability to pull is a fit for the Cardinals’ running game, and he strengthens an offensive line that has to keep its aging quarterback off the turf.

Zeitler was a first-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2012, and since then the 6-foot-4, 320-pound lineman has established himself as one of the NFL’s better guards, and it’s true he would make a lot of sense for the Cardinals.

Arizona has some uncertainty at right guard after Evan Mathis retired following an injury-shortened season, and though there are some options there is not much certainty with regards to replacements currently on the roster.

But the Cardinals are not the only team who could be interested in the 26-year-old, and though he may not be viewed as the top interior lineman on the market, his price tag figures to be fairly high.

Should the Cardinals nab Zeitler, he would be their second high-profile free agent pickup at the guard position and third overall along the offensive line, following Mike Iupati in 2015 and tackle Jared Veldheer in 2014.

Also notable in Bowen’s piece, he wrote that the Indianapolis Colts are the best fit for defensive lineman Calais Campbell, saying the longtime Cardinal “has put himself in a position to grab a lot of attention in free agency.”

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