ARIZONA CARDINALS

Remaining priorities and projected starters for the Cardinals

Mar 27, 2020, 8:48 AM | Updated: 9:55 am
Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim (R) talk to the med...
Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim (R) talk to the media at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility on January 9, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Behind general manager Steve Keim, the Arizona Cardinals have gotten out to an aggressive start as NFL free agency began.

They transition-tagged running back Kenyan Drake and then agreed to trade for receiver DeAndre Hopkins when the negotiating window opened. Arizona then filled in holes along the front seven and brought back several rotation players and backups.

What starting roles have yet to be addressed? Below, you can find a list of projected starters along with remaining roster priorities addressed in more detail.

We’ll keep this list updated as more signings are announced. Asterisks designate players acquired since the free agency negotiation window opened who have not officially inked their deals due to coronavirus-caused restrictions.

Offense

QB: Kyler Murray — Backup Brett Hundley is also back. Drew Anderson and the versatile Chris Streveler, who played in the CFL last year, will fight for a scout team spot or even a spot on the roster.

RB: Kenyan Drake — He signed his transition tag tender, and D.J. Foster was re-signed to join Drake and Chase Edmonds in the backfield.

WR: DeAndre Hopkins*

WR: Larry Fitzgerald

WR: Christian Kirk

TE: Maxx Williams

LT: D.J. Humphries

LG: Justin Pugh — Arizona also re-signed Max Garcia, who returned from a knee injury midseason in 2019, to play at either backup guard spot.

C: The Cardinals could re-sign A.Q. Shipley, the 33-year-old locker room leader who produced in 2019 after coming off an ACL injury that robbed him of 2018. Shipley said he wants to be back, and one would think retaining the same O-line would be beneficial. However, any contract negotiations on the team’s end will come with this is mind: Mason Cole, who started as a rookie in 2018, is a capable fallback option. However, it’s a luxury to have Cole available as a backup at guard, center and even tackle.

RG: J.R. Sweezy

RT: Tendering exclusive rights free agent Justin Murray at least gave Arizona one player capable of starting 2020 at right tackle. Veteran Marcus Gilbert joins him after Arizona re-signed him as well, but Gilbert hasn’t played more than seven games over a season since 2016. He missed last year with a knee injury that struck just before the regular season began. Is Gilbert healthy?

In his place, Murray performed admirably last year and is only 26 years old. It looked like the Cardinals would target OT with their No. 8 NFL Draft pick, and there will be a handful of OTs available. But Arizona has opened up its options (defensive line, maybe?) by betting on Murray and Gilbert.

Defense

DT: Corey Peters

DT: Jordan Phillips* — Trevon Coley, formerly of the Colts, was also added as a reserve tackle.

DE: The Cardinals re-signed fifth-year pro Jonathan Bullard a week into free agency. He played just above 50% of the snaps last year before he went to the IR with a hamstring injury. Two second-year pros, Zach Allen and Michael Dogbe, could have a chance to earn playing time as well. Allen was thrust into a key role probably too early as a rookie and played four games with eight tackles before a neck injury ended his debut season prematurely. A third-round draft pick, Allen didn’t record a sack but did have three quarterback hits.

The third starting interior defensive lineman position appears to be a wide open competition, likely between Bullard and Allen, as of now. In any case, both will be used as defensive coordinator Vance Joseph tends to heavily rotate that group.

OLB: Chandler Jones

OLB: Devon Kennard

ILB: Jordan Hicks

ILB: De’Vondre Campbell* — A strong tackler, he adds athleticism that the Cardinals hope is part of an antidote to cover opposing tight ends better than last season.

S: Budda Baker

S: Jalen Thompson settled in toward the end of 2019 after he was added to the team via the supplemental draft. That was just before camp started. He caught up and then showed enough to believe Arizona views him as a starting safety, and 2019 fifth-round pick Deionte Thompson should give the Cardinals depth. The free agent market hasn’t been kind to safeties of late, so Keim could also wait this position out to add depth. As it stands, it looks like they trust Jalen Thompson.

CB: Patrick Peterson

CB: Robert Alford

Special teams

K: Zane Gonzalez was extended a tender offer as a restricted free agent. Arizona placed a second-round tender on him, putting his salary at $3.3 million if that’s the deal he’s on in 2020. It’s likely but not locked-in that he’s back, as the Cardinals can match any other offer given to Gonzalez.

LS: Aaron Brewer

P: Andy Lee

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Out of office: Arizona Cardinals embark on bye week later than most

After 12 weeks of ups and downs, the Arizona Cardinals get a reprieve from all the minutia that comes with the NFL schedule.
1 day ago
Safety Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a fumble recovery against the Los Angeles ...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker leading NFC Pro Bowl voting at SS

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker could be well on his way to his fourth straight Pro Bowl in 2023.
1 day ago
Andre Baccellia #82 of the Arizona Cardinals participates in drills during Training Camp at State F...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals release wide receiver Andre Baccellia

The Arizona Cardinals announced on Monday they have released wide receiver Andre Baccellia.
1 day ago
Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...
Tyler Drake

Pitch count? Hollywood Brown plays nearly every snap vs. Chargers

Hollywood Brown went from being on a snap count to leading all Cardinals wide receivers in the category in Week 12.
1 day ago
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals is introduced during the NFL game at S...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals LT D.J. Humphries out for rest of season with back injury

Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries will not play for the final five games of the regular season due to a back injury.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

James Conner’s big day can’t make up for Cardinals’ lack of finish vs. L.A.

James Conner's impressive showing on Sunday was not enough to make up for the Cardinals' miscues in their loss to the Chargers.
1 day ago
Remaining priorities and projected starters for the Cardinals