The Athletic: Offensive line biggest group of need for Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals fans are familiar with the offensive line woes the franchise has endured over the years.
As quarterback Kyler Murray is recovering from a torn ACL against the New England Patriots last season, keeping him upright and healthy will be one of the biggest needs for Arizona going forward.
With center Rodney Hudson unlikely to return and three members of the room becoming unrestricted free agents, The Athletic’s Doug Haller said that the Cardinals need to reshape the offensive line.
The Cardinals have several needs. Who will start the season at quarterback if Kyler Murray is not fully recovered from his ACL injury? Who will replace J.J. Watt as a consistent pass rusher? Arizona still needs help at cornerback. But its biggest need rests up front. The Cardinals pretty much have to rebuild their offensive line. Veteran center Rodney Hudson played in only four games last season and is expected to retire. Guards Justin Pugh and Will Hernandez, as well as right tackle Kelvin Beachum, are unrestricted free agents. Arizona would be wise to try to keep Beachum, a trusted and dependable presence on and off the field. But there’s much to do here.
Haller raises the point that the Cardinals, a team that finished 3-14 last season, have many other needs other than the offensive line. Most teams drafting at No. 3 overall are there for a reason.
Despite needs all over the field, Arizona signed Murray to a five-year, $230.5 million ($160 million guaranteed) last offseason and is the franchise’s cornerstone of the future.
The Cardinals were the ninth-worst team in the league at allowing pass rushers in the backfield, seeing the quarterback go down 46 times over 17 games. Although, Arizona did attempt the fourth-most passes in the league at 664.
Additionally, Arizona posted the 11th-lowest total rushing yards with 1,873 (4.3 YPC).
The Cardinals currently only have tackles D.J. Humphries and Josh Jones and guards Lecitus Smith and Marquis Hayes under contract for 2023 (Hudson would also on the last year of his deal).
An upgraded offensive line could not only bolster the run and pass game but be vital to Murray staying healthy and taking the next step towards the stardom that the Cardinals paid him for.