ESPN: Cardinals’ biggest offseason need is a wide receiver

Jan 23, 2024, 8:15 PM | Updated: 8:26 pm

Hollywood Brown runs after the catch...

Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals avoids a tackle from Jason Pinnock #27 of the New York Giants during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals’ priorities this offseason include landing a top-tier defensive lineman or cornerback. However, the primary focus should be on a new No. 1 wide receiver, according to ESPN.

Biggest offseason priority: Arizona has to add a playmaking No. 1 receiver. There are many offseason priorities for the Cardinals this year, including landing a No. 1 cornerback and a top-tier defensive lineman, but they need a true top pass-catcher more than anything else. It looks like Kyler Murray is their choice for quarterback next season, but he will need help. Only the Falcons and Jets had fewer receiving yards from their wideouts than the Cardinals (1,790), and Marquise Brown is on an expiring deal. They could find Murray’s new receiver either in the draft or in free agency, going after a young productive pass-catcher and paying him the money he’s worth.

This is only good news for the Cardinals because both the free agent and draft classes are well-stocked with wide receivers.

The free agent pools boast names like Tee Higgins, Mike Evans and Michael Pittman Jr. The 2024 draft class has Ohio State phenom Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU standout Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze, who had the most receiving yards in the nation last season.

Now, the Cardinals still have a decision to make regarding their No. 1 receiver from last season, Marquise Brown. ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote that there still might be a chance he re-signs to Arizona.

Latest on whether they will re-sign receiver Marquise Brown: He’s close with Murray, and if the Cardinals stick with the current QB situation next season — as appears they might — that could help Brown’s case to return. But Brown hasn’t delivered high-end production in his two years in Arizona (574 yards this season), so he won’t likely get to play in the same free agent sandbox as guys like Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. Will he want to stay, and will the Cardinals want to keep him badly enough, to find a compromise? It’s possible, and it’s worth noting that Brown doesn’t even turn 27 until June. — Graziano

Five hundred and seventy-four yards isn’t nearly enough production from a No. 1 receiver, but whether the Cardinals want to re-sign him and go spend the rest of their money elsewhere is a realistic possibility.

Another move Arizona can make is trading down in the draft since the receiving options are aplenty for general manager Monti Ossenfort. ESPN’s Jordan Reid advises that the Cardinals can either do that or draft Harrison Jr.

Draft outlook: The Cardinals have multiple options, but as Josh mentioned, adding more pass-catchers on the outside will be key. In a deep receiver class, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. is within range here. He has rare body control and strong hands, and I have him as my No. 1 overall prospect. But similar to last year, GM Monti Ossenfort could look to trade back, acquire more picks for a team that severely lacks talent and still add a pass-catcher later in Round 1. Again, this is a deep receiver class. — Reid

Ossenfort has experienced trading down before.

The Cardinals traded down in the 2023 NFL Draft, swapping the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of the Houston Texans, moving down nine spots to the 12th overall selection and acquiring a first-round pick for the 2024 draft, which is now the 27th overall pick.

Then they rejoined the top 10 when they sent the 12th pick to the Detroit Lions for the sixth overall pick and selected offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State.

Whatever Arizona does this offseason, a wide receiver needs to be involved, for Murray’s sake and the fans’.

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