PFF’s top-ranked Arizona Cardinals upcoming free agents
Jan 30, 2022, 12:16 PM
(AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Pro Football Focus released a list of its free agent rankings, which includes seven Arizona Cardinals in the top-100:
-#4 OLB Chandler Jones
-#50 WR Christian Kirk
-#60 TE Zach Ertz
-#71 RB James Conner
-#78 RB Chase Edmonds
-#84 CB Robert Alford
-#94 TE Maxx Williams
Quarterback Colt McCoy and wide receiver A.J. Green were ranked 109 and 111, respectively.
The Cardinals’ playmakers on PFF’s rankings accounted for 71% of the team’s receiving yards and 67% of rushing yards this past season. Kirk, 25, led the team with 77 catches while Conner (26) had the most carries with 202.
Conner and Edmonds (25) proved to be a valuable tandem in the first half of the season, although injuries prevented them from playing together much after Week 9.
Williams, 27, had a strong start as a pass catcher and provided value as a run blocker. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5, and general manager Steve Keim soon after traded for Ertz.
Ertz, 31, finished the year as Arizona’s second leader in catches with 56 despite debuting in Week 7.
The offense could have a different look around quarterback Kyler Murray the next time he takes the field.
Jones made a triumphant return in Arizona’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans. He collected five sacks as an overwhelming presence, and he tapped Keim’s pockets on the sideline during the win.
He finished with 10.5 sacks and became the franchise’s all-time leader in that category.
Jones, who will be 32 years old next season, is PFF’s top-ranked edge rusher, just ahead of Los Angeles Rams linebacker Von Miller.
The Cardinals’ lack of depth at cornerback was evident when Alford missed the final five games, including the playoffs, due to a pectoral injury.
He allowed a 57.1% completion percentage and 5.2 yards per target. Alford was a consistently stable defender aside from a difficult game against the Rams in Week 14. He is 33 years old and missed two straight seasons before 2021.
The Cardinals are in a tricky situation when it comes to their cap.
Arizona has 10 players under contract for 2022 with cap hits of at least $9 million, according to Spotrac. The organization would have to clear some space in order to bring everyone back or make upgrades.
Not many of their 2021 contributors are still on rookie deals, especially on offense.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is set for a $25.05 million cap hit as the extension he signed last year is kicking in.
Spotrac projects Arizona’s cap space to be at $5,275,098, which is 23rd in the NFL. There are cuts and restructures to contracts that Keim and the organization can make to create some flexibility.