The Arizona Cardinals were very active in the first couple days of free agency, signing six players.
The headliner, of course, was guard Mike Iupati. The Cardinals lured the three-time Pro Bowl left guard away from the San Francisco 49ers to help fill out their revamped offensive line. It was a big move, both literally and figuratively.
But the team’s free agency period will not be judged on the Iupati signing alone; the team added and lost other players. Overall, ESPN’s Mike Sando, in an Insider piece, gave the team a B-plus for its efforts. He consulted with Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates for their thoughts.
Key re-signings/additions: DT Corey Peters, OLB Sean Weatherspoon, DE Cory Redding, G Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley, LB LaMarr Woodley
Key subtractions: CB Antonio Cromartie, DT Dan Williams, DT Darnell Dockett, OLB John Abraham, RB Jonathan Dwyer, ILB Larry Foote, C Lyle Sendlein, OLB Marcus Benard, G Paul Fanaika, TE Rob Housler, QB Ryan Lindley, OLB Sam Acho, WR Ted Ginn Jr., DT Tommy Kelly
The Cardinals set out this offseason to add speed on defense. They set out to upgrade their running personnel on offense. They seem to have succeeded on both fronts.
“They are high on my list of teams in free agency,” Williamson said. “My worry is that Iupati is more of a run-blocker while Bruce Arians’ offense has a lot of deep drops. I do really like the Weatherspoon pickup. If Daryl Washington comes back, they are suddenly very athletic and versatile there with linebackers who do not come off the field — something the 49ers enjoyed for years. Woodley was worth a shot. Peters is a decent player. Redding is decent. Shipley is OK. They got noticeably better and they were able to keep Larry Fitzgerald, which was good.”
Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seahawks were given an A-minus, the Rams earned a B and the 49ers were given a C-plus.