* = 2019 full-time starter

Need #1: Offensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • DJ Humphries (LT, coming off his best season as a pro - he finally stayed healthy and allowed only 2 sacks - however he was one of the penalized offensive lineman in football, 2019 was the first time in his career that he went a full 16 games, the supply of quality young LTs is very low and Humphries is coming off a somewhat solid season - he may the best option on the market)
  • Marcus Gilbert (RT, missed the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, also struggled with injuries the year before in Pittsburgh, has lots of starting experience at RT and has always been regarded as a solid blocker, but given his age - 32 - and recent injury history - the Cardinals may look to move in a different direction)
  • Justin Murray (made 12 starts at RT in 2019, quality of play was uneven early but he finished the season strong, has earned the right to compete for the full-time starting job in 2020, he's a ERFA so the Cards shouldn't have any problem retaining him )

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Joshua Miles (2019 7th rounder, did not see playing time as a rookie, entered the league as a pure developmental prospect)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals will need to either resign or replace DJ Humphries at LT. They should also bring in competition at RT.

Updates:

  • Resigned DJ Humphries
  • Resigned Marcus Gilbert
  • Resigned Justin Murray
  • Drafted in 3rd Round: Josh Jones (45 career starts at LT, rock-solid tape, though there is room for technical development - especially relating to pass protection, has LT size/length, fell in the draft due to poor combine testing - but plays with more athleticism than testing indicates, has clear starting upside, excellent value)

Need #2: Edge / Outside Linebacker

Notable Free Agents:

  • Cassius Marsh (rotational pass rusher)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Chandler Jones (one of the best defensive players in football and arguably the most underrated, has recorded 60 sacks in his 4 seasons in AZ - including 19 in 2019 alone, he is 30 years old - so a decline becomes more likely with each passing year)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals need to add a legitimate pass rush threat opposite Jones. They should also invest in young, developmental depth.

Updates:

  • Signed Devon Kennard (reliable player, 7 sacks in each of the last 2 seasons, this move will help solidify the defense)
  • Drafted in 1st Round: Isaiah Simmons (unclear what position he will play in AZ, has experience at ILB, OLB, Edge, slot CB, and S, was the definition of dynamic and versatile at Clemson, possess a rare blend of size, length, and pure athleticism, he has the ability to go sideline to sideline, hold dual-threat QBs in check, and cover TEs and slot WRs, the challenge will be finding the right role for him - something the team struggled to do with Reddick)

Need #3: Wide Receiver

Notable Free Agents:

  • Damiere Byrd (speedy returner and reserve WR, put up respectable numbers - relative to limited opportunities in 2019, but he may look for a less crowded WR depth chart in FA)
  • Pharoh Cooper (similar player to Byrd - returner and reserve WR, and like Byrd - may pursue more of an opportunity somewhere else)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Christian Kirk (explosive WR2, has been limited by injuries in both of his pro seasons, his 2019 TD #s aren't great - especially when you consider that all 3 of them came in the same game, his 10.4 ypc is also disappointing relative to his talent level, still - he is a nice target for Murray)
  • Larry Fitzgerald (continues to produce at a dependable and respectable level, primarily plays out of the slot, he should not be counted on as WR1 or WR2 at this point - but he is an excellent leader/role player)
  • Andy Isabella (2019 2nd rounder, finished the year with a meager 9 receptions and only made one memorable play, he has legit speed and was a big-time playmaker in college - so it is far too early to count him out - but the clock is ticking)
  • Hakeem Butler (2019 4th rounder, missed entire rookie season with a finger injury, offers elite length and deceptive speed, put up nice numbers as a junior at ISU, there is some breakout upside with this player)
  • KeeSean Johnson (2019 6th rounder, began the season with an offensive role but ended it as a game day inactive, will be fighting for a roster spot in 2020)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address:

  • Despite burning three draft picks on WRs in 2019, it is very clear that the Cardinals lack a true WR1 - they should try to acquire one.

Updates:

  • Traded for DeAndre Hopkins (arguably the best WR in football, has recorded elite production over the past 3 seasons, very durable and tough - rarely misses a football game, should be a tremendous fit with Murray / Kingsbury, this acquisition makes the AZ offense one of the most dangerous in the NFL)

Need #4: Inside Linebacker

Notable Free Agents:

  • Joe Walker (started 11 games in 2019, did not stand out, is not an ideal starter - but does offer experienced depth and special teams ability)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Jordan Hicks (ultra-productive in 2019, finished 3rd in the NFL in total tackles, and was also solid in coverage, going into 2019 there were some questions about durability - but he played every single defensive snap)
  • Haason Reddick (2017 1st rounder, hasn't been a success at ILB and doesn't exactly fit the mold of a 3-4 OLB, he's got an intriguing set of skills but isn't relevant without a defined role)

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinal need to add a new starter next to Hicks and increase depth at the position.

Updates:

  • Signed De'Vondre Campbell (led the Falcons in tackles in 2019, possesses the athletic ability to go sideline to sideline, there are occasional inconsistencies - especially in coverage - but he is a clear upgrade for the Cards)
  • Drafted in 6th Round: Evan Weaver (phenomenal production at CAL - led the nation in tackles in 2019 and was 2nd in 2018, has excellent instincts and impressive toughness - but there are significant physical and athletic limitations that will probably prevent him from ever becoming a full-time starter at the next level)

Need #5: Defensive Line

Notable Free Agents:

  • Zach Kerr (experienced reserve)
  • Rodney Gunter (started 13 games in 2019. he's solid vs the run and has recorded decent pass rush production - 7.5 sacks - over the past two seasons)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Corey Peters (has been with the team for many years, 31 years old, good run defender, but does not offer much disruption / pass rush, may be better suited for a rotational role at this point of career)
  • Zach Allen (2019 3rd rounder, missed most of his rookie year with a neck injury, projected as a likely starter coming out of college - so if he can fully recover from the injury - he should become a key member of the defense)
  • Michael Dogbe (2019 7th rounder, did not play much as a rookie, could move into a rotational role in 2020)

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals needs to either resign or replace Gunter. They should also bring in competition / complimentary depth for both Peters and Allen. This unit is in need of more explosive and disruptive players.

Updates:

  • Signed Jordan Phillips (went from a 2nd round bust to a breakout star in 2019 - with 9.5 sacks and 13 TFLs for the Bills, he was also strong vs the run, there is great upside with this signing - but also some risk given the out-of-nowhere nature of his 2019 surge)
  • Drafted in 4th Round: Leki Fotu (massive nose tackle with more athletic ability than expected, solid production over junior and senior seasons, newer to the game - so some development is needed before he takes on a substantial role, has starting upside as run-stuffing / blocking-eating nose)
  • Drafted in 4th Round: Rashard Lawrence (big-time recruit coming out of high school, he's limited athletically but plays with great effort and toughness, was a team captain as a sophomore - so the leadership qualities are superb, statistical production was only moderate and he's limited as a pass rusher, but projects as a solid rotational DL at the next level)

Need #6: Running Back

Notable Free Agents:

  • Kenyan Drake (came over to Cards at the trade deadline and recorded Pro Bowl level production in his 8 games with AZ - 814 yards total yards and 8 TDs, appears to be a perfect fit in Kingsbury's offense, will be interesting to see what the market will be for a player who has consistently flashed but never sustained RB1 production)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • David Johnson (3.7 ypc on 94 attempts in 2019, went 3.6 ypc on 258 attempts the year before, injuries have been a consistent issue, no longer appears to have the explosion that once made him such a dynamic playmaker, was sparingly used late in the season, it's pretty obvious that the team would like to move on - but his contract makes that very difficult) 
  • Chase Edmonds (2018 4th rounder, flashed in 2019 - rushed for 126 yards and 3 TDs in Week 7, but injuries held him back as the year wore on, he is a quality RB2 when healthy)

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals need to commit to a long-term vision at RB - which would likely involve resigning Drake and trading Johnson.

Updates:

  • Transition-tagged Kenyan Drake
  • Traded David Johnson (somehow the Cards were able to trade an inefficient player on a bloated contract for one of the best WRs in football - major props to Steve Keim)
  • Drafted in 7th Round: Eno Benjamin (surprising he was still available this in the late in the draft, was highly productive at ASU, runs with great elusiveness and balance - but also has shown the ability to grind out tough yards, is dangerous player in open field, advanced for young RB in terms of pass-catching and pass-protection, production did drop from 2018 to 2019 - which may have something to do with draft-day slide, steal)

Need #7: Cornerback

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Patrick Peterson (missed the first 6 games of the season due to PED suspension, was rusty upon activation, but eventually returned to top-caliber CB status, he will be 30 at the start of the season - but hasn't really shown any signs of slowing down, 2020 is the final year of his contract - so trade rumors may persist)
  • Byron Murphy (2019 2nd rounder, started all 16 games but struggled quite a bit, was often targeted by opposing QBs, he does have the talent to turn things around - but he won't have a long leash if the struggles continue)
  • Robert Alford (was expected to play a key role after signing a big FA deal last offseason - but ended up missing the entire season with a broken leg, had a good 2017 in ATL - but struggled in 2018 and was released from contract, at 31 years old he is not a long term solution at CB)

Need Level: Moderate

Need:

  • The Cardinal need to begin preparing for the life after Peterson and Alford. They also need to increase depth and competition across the unit.

Need #8: Interior Offensive Line

Notable Free Agents:

  • A.Q. Shipley* (has started 51 games at center since joining the team in 2015, quality of play has always been about average, at 34 years old the Cardinals will probably move in a younger direction)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Justin Pugh (came over as a big FA signing in 2018, did not live up to contract in first year, but was much better in 2019, he's locked-in at starting LG)
  • J.R. Sweezy* (joined team in 2019, started all 16 games at RG, solid / unspectacular quality of play, probably not a long-term fixture but functional for the time being)
  • Mason Cole (2018 3rd rounder, was a full-time starter as a rookie - but lost starting job to Shipley in 2019 and was shifted to a reserve role, ended up making two spot-starts at guard, could be first in-line for center job if Shipley isn't resigned)
  • Lamont Gaillard (2019 6th rounder, did not play as a rookie, was a three year starter at UGA with experience at both center and guard, will provide depth in 2020 - and could possible push Cole for the starting center job)

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals could look for upgrade at center, they also need to think long-term at guard - both starters will be 30 or older in 2020.  

Need #9: Special Teams

Notable Free Agents:

  • Zane Gonzalez (RFA, was excellent in 2019 - made 31 of 35 FGs and 34 of 35 XPs, Cards should lock him up long-term)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Andy Lee (ancient but still very good at punting the football)

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals will need either resign or replace Gonzalez at kicker.

Updates:

  • Resigned Zane Gonzalez

Need #10: Quarterback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Brett Hundley (not all that experienced for a veteran backup and has yet to showcase the ability that made him a 2nd round pick in 2015, that said - he did seem to mesh well with Kingsbury - so it wouldn't be surprising if he is brought back) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Kyler Murray (2019 1st rounder, had one of the most impressive rookie seasons for a QB in NFL history, he's an absolute stud and a legitimate franchise QB)

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals need to address the backup QB situation.

Updates:

  • Resigned Brett Hundley

Need #11: Tight End

Notable Free Agents:

  • Charles Clay (started 10 games in 2019, the Cardinals will likely move in a younger direction) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Maxx Williams (caught 15 of 18 targets in 2019, TE is not heavily utilised in Kingsbury's offense - which makes Williams a capable, albeit relatively unproven, starting option)
  • Dan Arnold (joined team in December, ended up scoring 2 TDs on 6 receptions, he has upside as receiving TE - but offers little to no blocking ability) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • While an upgrade would be justified, Kingsbury does not really use TEs in his offensive scheme, so the Cardinals may just move forward with what they have.

Need #12: Safety

Notable Free Agents:

  • Chris Banjo (core special teamer)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Budda Baker (2017 2nd rounder, made his first Pro Bowl in 2019, extremely versatile - spent time at virtually every defensive position last year, a building block going forward)
  • Jalen Thompson (2019 5th round supplemental selection, became a starter in the latter half of the season and played well, was especially impressive in coverage, has an upper hand on the starting job opposite Baker)
  • Dionte Thompson (2019 5th rounder, received limited playing time as a rookie, he fell in the draft due to an injury and limited starting experience - but he's definitely got talent, he will compete with J.Thompson for a starting job in 2020)

Need Level: Low

Need to Address:

  • The Cardinals have a young Pro Bowler and two talented safety prospects at this position - there isn't much need here.

Updates:

  • Resigned Chris Banjo