The Arizona Cardinals have already proven themselves as contenders in the NFL with the past season in the books. But this offseason they set out to get new pieces to the puzzle. They will surely need to upgrade certain positions to continue contending with other teams. They are one of the most complete teams in football, but need some rejuvenating to be the best.
Arizona Cardinals 2016 Off-Season
The 2015-16 Cardinals came up short on their goal to play in the Super Bowl—they were stomped on by the Panthers in the NFC Championship game. That game will live with them forever, but I guarantee that loss will spark a will to win like never before. With players returning from injury, and this draft and free agent group having more talent than past years, the Cardinals will most definitely come back better, stronger, faster, and with more youth. The 2016 team will be a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s start with the primary positional needs. The positions that need more depth: cornerback, defensive line, offensive line and maybe even quarterback.
Patrick Peterson is the star of the defense other than Tyrann Mathieu. But opposing Peterson was a mix of Jerraud Powers and Justin Bethel. That was not enough to stop top offenses in 2015 and it certainly won’t be in 2016.
Yes, the cornerbacks were not amazing but they didn’t get much help from the pass rushers. The Cardinals defensive line is only getting older and they need to address those positions in the draft and possibly get some free agents such as Chris Long or James Laurinaitis. Addressing the need for pass rushers should be the Cardinals number one priority to get the Cardinals defense to their full potential.
They could get a big man for every line position. Mike Iupati and Jared Veldheer are locks to keep their starting job. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals brought in competition.
With Carson Palmer being 36 years of age and having two years left on his contract, the Cardinals might want to look for a replacement soon. Drew Stanton, who is 31, is not the long term answer and hopefully Bruce Arians knows that. I expect the Cardinals to draft a quarterback either in this year’s draft or in 2017. They could also get a young free agent for the future job. But as for now, Carson Palmer will run the show for the next two seasons.
I believe in Steve Keim and Bruce Arians. They are masters at drafting very talented players. From their success in their past years I am confident in the players they draft. So if the Cardinals address some of these needs, most importantly pass rushers, cornerback, and offensive line they will definitely be one of the best teams in football next season. Maybe even the best.
I know the Cardinals may be in a win now mode because of the age of key players. But focusing on youth will not only help for the future, but will probably add to aggressive feeling the team has and make the team that much better. But having said all that, this will be a competitive team for the foreseeable future. And that is something Arizona Cardinals fans should look forward too.