The initial excitement has subsided. Free agency is now entering its third week and slowly chugging along. The names aren’t as glamorous and the money doesn’t cause much disdain. Regardless, the signings and losses can make or break a team’s fortune for the upcoming season. Today we take a look at how the Cardinals made out during the second week of free agency.
The Cardinals continue to search for a cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. Last season the Cardinals found success with veteran Tramon Williams. He played 13 games on the season, starting nine of them and providing the defense with a solid bookend for Arizona. The Cardinals had hoped to sign Williams on the same contract agreed upon last year, about $2 million for one year. Instead the Packers came in and reached an agreement for $10 million over two years.
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Arizona also lost defensive linemen Josh Mauro and Xavier Williams. Both men were important contributors with Mauro spending most of the season in the starting lineup. The Giants signed Mauro and reunited the lineman with former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Williams signed with the Chiefs as a restricted free agent when the Cardinals declined to match the offer.
The big news came with the late week trade of Jared Veldheer to the Broncos for a 2018 sixth round pick. The Cardinals also saved $6.9 million against the cap by trading Veldheer. It was a move to allow additional signings. The weekend brought the signings of Justin Bethel and Drew Stanton. Stanton was a leftover from the Bruce Arians era and who was a solid backup for the team. He is best known for his fun antics on the sideline as a high paid cheerleader. Bethel struggled the last couple of seasons to find the field and has been relegated to special teams play.
— Full Press Cardinals (@FPC_Cardinals) March 26, 2018
Daniel Munyer – Signed tender
The Cardinals have been linked with multiple free agents over the past week but have not sealed the deal with the likes of Jordan Matthews and E.J. Gaines. Instead the Cardinals stayed a bit under the radar with being awarded receiver Cobi Hamilton after the team made a claim on the former Texans wideout. The team also signed cornerback Bene Benwikere from Dallas. Benwikere spent his first three years in Carolina where he was coached by current Cardinals head man Steve Wilks.
In the weeks ahead of April’s draft, Steve Keim and the front office will be spending time at college pro days and private workouts. Free agency is a slight after thought but the Cardinals are still kicking the tires of the second and third tier free agents take meetings. The team has roughly $20.9 million in cap room after their recent moves. While not a major war chest, it is something to help fill remaining holes. The Cardinals continue to need help at cornerback and wide receiver while also depth along both lines. Arizona continues to look for missing pieces but the shelves are beginning to look bare.