CARDINALS CORNER

The 5: Arizona Cardinals who should receive contract extensions in 2024

Jun 10, 2024, 5:20 PM | Updated: 5:20 pm

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has some decisions to make when keeping some of the team’s biggest pieces in the Valley for the long haul.

But of the names entering contract years, which ones deserve to tack on a few more years in Arizona?

A look at the top five players the Cardinals should absolutely think about extending in 2024:

James Conner, running back

Current contract: Three years, $21 million

Conner has checked all the boxes since he arrived in the desert in 2022. Despite coming aboard with the previous regime, Conner is among the handful of holdovers Ossenfort and Co. have relied on as one of the team’s top offensive weapons and leaders in the locker room.

The running back is also coming off one of the best years of his career behind 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns on 208 carries. He added another 27 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

The only other season that would rival Conner’s 2023 would be his 15-touchdown effort the two seasons prior.

He’s also determined to make last year his floor moving forward.

“That’s what me and (running backs coach) Autry Denson) talk about,” Conner said in May. “That’s the floor. I want that to be the lowest I rush for in my career going forward.

“Definitely got a lot of work to put in, but that’s the floor, not the ceiling.”

And while age certainly is a factor, especially at running back, coaches and players have applauded Conner’s off-the-field regiment. If anyone was going to fight off Father Time, a lot of people’s money in the locker room would be on Conner.

Budda Baker, safety

Current contract: Two years, $28.2 million (revised)

After getting a raise last offseason, Baker has been as advertised for Gannon and Ossenfort.

He continues to serve as a leader in the secondary and is a prime example of how Arizona wants its athletes to play.

Baker didn’t let a torn hamstring early on in the year hold him down for long, either, still recording 87 tackles, five of which were for loss, across 12 games last season.

Similar to Conner’s mentality, Baker is focused on controlling what he can control and letting his play speak for itself.

“That’s my main goal this year like it is every year. Continue to do my job at a high level, continue to play high football, elite football and when the ball comes my way, get it out the sky. And when it doesn’t, run to the ball,” Baker said on Monday.

“That’s what I am, A to Z, run to the ball. Everything else can take care of itself. I’ll let my agent handle all that other stuff.”

Kyzir White, inside linebacker

Current contract: Two years, $10 million

White’s impact cannot be understated. Since arriving to town last year, he’s provided the team with a hard-nosed starting MIKE linebacker who thrives on violence.

The linebacker adds a level of thump you just can’t teach.

Even though he was sidelined with a torn bicep midway through the season, White still paced the team in tackles with 90. He added two sacks, an interception and three passes defensed across 11 games played.

And like those mentioned before him, White brings valuable leadership to the fold.

Will Hernandez, right guard

Current contract: Two years, $9 million

Arizona’s undisputed enforcer, Hernandez brings a hefty amount of nastiness to the interior of the offensive line.

Starting every game for the fourth time in his six-year career is nothing to scoff at, either.

He was also a great teammate for right tackle Paris Johnson Jr. last season.

Hernandez has already gone to the negotiation table, too, inking a two-year extension in 2023.

Hjalte Froholdt, center

Current contract: Two years, $4.6 million

One spot over from Hernandez, you’ll find Froholdt locking down the center spot.

After being given the starting center keys last year, Froholdt didn’t look back behind 17 starts in 2023.

On top of his on-the-field work, he appears to be building a strong rapport with quarterback Kyler Murray — much like Hernandez.

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