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Arizona Cardinals Free Agency: What should the team prioritize?

© Jim Dedmon | 2023 Nov 19

The Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the NFL are officially allowed to negotiate with free agents starting March 11 at noon ET. They can then sign players starting March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.

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Top option

The Cardinals enter free agency with a ton of holes to fill. However, they do have the capital to do this.

A crucial position that the team needs to prioritize this offseason is edge rushers.

The team possesses the ninth-most cap space with over $51 million, as well as the most total and top-100 draft picks in the upcoming draft.

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Arizona continuously struggled with putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season. They totaled just 33 sacks in 17 games played, which was the third-fewest in the league.

Dennis Gardeck led the team with six sacks and 12 QB hits despite playing just 46% of defensive snaps.

Carolina Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns is a top-five player in this free agency class. In five seasons after being drafted 16th overall, Burns has racked up 46 sacks and 95 QB hits. He netted a top-10 pass rush win rate among all edge rushers in 2023.

He has been in trade rumors for a few years now but Carolina has been unwilling to depart with the former first-rounder. The Panthers may very well tag Burns and attempt to trade him. Arizona should be interested in his availability regardless.

The 25-year-old will command a hefty, long-term contract but is well worth it, especially factoring in the Cardinals’ needs.


Alternative option

Considering the market that Burns has, there is a possibility that Arizona can’t land him.

As an alternative, the team should take a look at fellow edge rusher Za’Darius Smith. While he is 31 years old, Smith would immediately come in and become the Cardinals’ top pass rusher.

The former All-Pro signed a one-year deal with Cleveland last year and will now look for a multi-year deal as he ages.

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The Arizona Cardinals have an eventful couple of months ahead of them when it comes to shaking up the roster. It all begins with free agency and who they are able to acquire.


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Saleh Awwad is a writer/reporter covering the Arizona State Sun Devils, Phoenix High School Sports, and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @SalehAwwad_

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