Cardinals on the open market

Posted by Darren Urban on January 17, 2017 – 12:58 pm

It’s that time of year — and will continue to be, as free agency doesn’t even begin until March 9 — where the speculation of who the best free agents are and where they might land heats up. ESPN’s John Clayton put together a list of his top 50 free agents-to-be (again, contracts don’t expire until March 9, and there is always a chance teams will extend some of these guys).

One key about lists like this — free agency is always about demand. If you are 30th on this list but have multiple teams trying to track you down, that’s better than being 12th and having little interest.

Clayton has four Cardinals on this list:

— No. 4 OLB Chandler Jones
— No. 10 DL Calais Campbell
— No. 28 S Tony Jefferson
— No. 41 ILB Kevin Minter

We know where the Cardinals stand — or have an idea where they stand — on Jones, Campbell and Jefferson. Minter is a little different, although his case figures to be determined not only by the open market but also what the Cardinals want to do early in the draft.

The other interesting part of this list — the cornerbacks. Without knowing what kind of price tag they’d bring (and knowing that a cornerback might be a good target in the draft, and may be even if one is picked up in free agency), Clayton lists five in the top 49: Buffalo’s Stephon Gilmore (13), Houston’s A.J. Bouye (14), L.A.’s Trumaine Johnson (21), New England’s Logan Ryan (44) and Jacksonville’s Prince Amukamara (49).


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29 Responses to “Cardinals on the open market”

  1. By D on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    I could see a team like the LA Rams have interest in Tony J. He would be a upgrade to their soon to be free agent TJ Mcdonald who is knucklehead and most likely to be suspended in 2017. If I were S. Keim, I would keep communications active with DJ Swearinger who should cost less than Tony. He needs to keep one of them. I don’t see K. Minter much better than S. Moore at this point. I don’t see AZ being able to afford to sign a FA Corner, like those listed above unless they lose C. Campbell in free agency. This draft is deep with CB’s.

  2. By Rugbymuffin on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply


    Dre Kirkpatrick didn’t crack the top 50 free agents and Prince Amukamara is ranked above him ?

    Sweet, Cardinals should have no problem getting him in free agency and he is a good fit for the Cardinals system

  3. By georgiebird on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    Cambell reminds me of Dansby–never as good as he should have been but the drop off is not noticeable. Campbell will be 31 before the season starts-I can’t see locking him up long term.
    Minter should be a star by now if it was going to happen. This is definitely a position that has to be upgraded for the Cards to contend.
    Jones can rush the passer but he’s not an enforcer- matter of fact, none of our LBs push people around like the better teams’ do. Jones’ total game is middle of the pack but the pass rushing makes everyone (except Belichick) drool a bit.
    Jefferson is a talented guy but the Cards’ should have a few guys at the safety position. But I like Jefferson’s athletic ability and would make him an offer since HB may not get back to being a star.

  4. By joe holst on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    Snatch Trumaine Johnson from the Rams .

  5. By Scott H on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    georgiebird –

    RE: Campbell

    Yeah, I hear ya. I cringe at the thought of a long-term deal for him, but…..also cringe at the thought of him being gone. It’s a tough call. He’s still a very good player, probably has a couple ( = two ) more seasons at / near what he is right now. And with what he is right now, I want him here!

    As always, depends on what the team will offer, what the player wants, and the distance between those two points.

    As a career Cardinal to this point, I’d love to see him play a couple more seasons here. He’s been a horse, he’s been healthy, and just an all around good guy – on the field and off. Guys like him don’t fall off the tree every year.

    He’s not QUITE Fitz, but….he’s pretty close. Right now, I’d say he is in the discussion for Ring of Honor someday. If he plays a couple more seasons here at a high level, he is a no-doubt-about-it for the ROH.

  6. By JTDG on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    No top 50 for DJ Swearinger ???

    In 12 starts, he has 66 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 passes defensed and 3 picks.

    How does that compare to the top Free safeties in the NFL ?

    Earl Thomas has only 48 tackles, no sacks, 10 passes defensed and 2 picks in 11 starts.

    Devin McCourtney has 16 starts, 83 tackles, no sacks, 7 passes defensed and 1 pick.

    Harrison Smith in 14 starts had 91 tackles, 2 sacks, but only 2 passes defensed and no picks

    So, what gives ?

  7. By CardsNation on Jan 17, 2017 | Reply

    Ideal Possible Mocked Draft for the Cardinals:

    1st: WR Mike Williams

    He has the hand and the size as Larry, but faster and younger. Floyd is gone, he will be a great fit for the Cardinals and learn under Larry Fitz.

    2nd: G Dan Feeney

    Immediate starter at RG, talented, physical. Future Pro-bowler. Zack Martin kind of guy.

    3rd: CB Cordrea Tankersley or CB Tre’Davious White

    Both could be gone before the third round but it would be nice to trade up in the late second round to get them. They have the speed, Tankersley has the size and played in many bowl games, so he has the chance to face many of the top WRs in the nation. White is talented as well, Tankersley will be taken before White, but both of them are extremely talented.

    4th: ILB Elijah Lee

    He definitely has the size to be an ILB, taller than most ILB in the draft. He is a great tackler. Need to work on coverage and play read.

    5th: DT Vincent Taylor

    He would be a steal in the 5th round, he is unlikely to be there, but his athleticism and the ability to pass rush and block shed make him one of the best DT. He has so many rooms to develop, definitely worth a 5th round pick.

    CB: Many people thought we should sign Stephen Gilmore or Trumaine Johnson. Both cost way too much. I still think Marcus Cooper is a solid CB if we don’t draft a CB in early in the draft, and he was named to the pro bowl alternate. He needs to work on his consistency.

    QB: No QB in this draft. The QB is not the issue why we went 7-8-1 and still few years left for Carson Palmer.

    AJ McCarron would be a great trade for the Cardinals. He has the size, accuracy, and arm. He is aggressive and super competitive. He will be a great fit for Bruce’s offense and could learn under Carson Palmer.

    I also watched he played in the postseason against the Steelers two years ago. He threw one interception, I don’t blame him for that. He wasn’t wearing a glove, it was a rainy day and the ball went rather short than it intended to be. Then he put on a glove after that incident. Also, it was his second year in NFL and he was a backup as a rookie and become a starter late due to the injury of Andy Dalton.

    He was tremendous in the regular season. He started only three games in the same season but threw 6 TDs and only 2 ints. His completion was 66.5%, better than most QBs. He is only 26, standing 6’4. He is worth a shot.

  8. By Dominik on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    Steve, sign Ron Leary (27 years old, 6-3, 320) in FA. He’s a proven LG in the league best O-line. And he’ll be cheaper than Kevin Zeitler from the Bengals!

    In the Draft trade down your first round pick and take the best corner or safety, who is avaiable.
    S: Malik Hooper, Jamal Adams, Budda Baker
    CB: Sidney Jones, Teez Tabor, Quincy Wilson, Marlon Humphrey

    With the additional second rounder take ILB Jarrad Davis. With the Cards 2nd rounder take your QB for the future!

    In round three use your pick for Gerald Everett, TE

  9. By BirdsSTC on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    Bring Prince home! The pride of Apollo High School!

  10. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    I share your enthusiasm for Swearinger.

    Not trying to sound ignorant here because I do recognize how good Earl Thomas is but….I feel like since his injury, his overall impact on the defense was being over-emphasized. And it was a bit much on more than a few occasions. Heard it during the game against Atlanta just this past Saturday. Seemed like any time a play was made against Seattle’s defense, you heard somebody jumping right in to say “That’s what happens when you don’t have Earl Thomas” or “that doesn’t happen against the Seahawks when you have Earl Thomas in there.” Again, it has seemed pretty over-done.

    Seattle’s defense has remained VERY good in that they don’t allow a lot of yards or a lot of points against them, but they have NOT been as…special the last two seasons or so. And that was with Earl Thomas.

    I hear ya, I think Swearinger had a very good season here and was a significant contributor to this defense. Give me a choice of Swearinger or Earl Thomas, based on just how they played in 2016? Honestly, I’ll take Swearinger.

  11. By Scott H on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    Cards Nation –

    RE: Drafting Mike Williams, he can learn under Larry

    Yeah, IF Larry is gonna be here! Do you know something we don’t?? đŸ™‚ But it makes me feel better that you are expecting him back for 2017. I’ll take it!

  12. By clssylssy on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    We’ll never get Mike Williams, he’ll be long gone before we pick and the Cards have never aggressively gone after a player that i can recall except for the Honey Badger, who had dropped dramatically anyway (I wouldn’t even call that “aggressive”). I would LOVE to see us get Williams b/c I really don’t think Fitz will be back and we’re going to need him or somebody like him to make the BA offense work, even with David Johnson. I agree that a trade for McCarron would be our best route at QB this year…BA no longer is the “QB whisperer” he once was and I don’t think he has the patience or energy to develop a talent who is right out of the chute and not even green broke. I do think they will draft a QB, because they are getting so much heat from the fans, and I think they will take another project like Kizer from Nortre Dame who fits the “type” BA likes–big and physical like Andrew Luck or Logan Thomas.
    Talent wasn’t our problem this year on defense, IMO, we just didn’t know how to work with what we had. When you have four players ranked as top players (not even including PP and Swearinger) and I look at the creative ways other teams in the playoffs used less talent to achieve more, I feel like this magic cure all that gets sold so heavily after failure, known as “the draft” is a a diversion.
    We know we need a corner and a WR, why not find somebody we REALLY want (like Williams) and go all in trading draft picks to get them and then use what’s left over to build up the 0-line and D-line (It’s quality over quantity). I know people will flip out at the mere suggestion of giving up draft picks but we just squander them anyway, and at least if we get a few quality players it will pay off over a bunch of guys who are discarded anyway.
    It seems that every team in the league is moving to building strong defenses and I hate that the Cards will no doubt loose some very valuable playmakers to our opponents because we don’t want to pay them what they can get other places. I believe both the Rams and the 9ers WILL BE aggressive in their attempts to rebuild and the Cards could very well be sinking to the bottom once again.
    I HATE the draft because we are so bad at it and also hate the mentality of expecting our players who have proven their worth to be the ones to have to give the “home town discount”. How is it that other teams manage to keep their core playmakers working under the same Cap, and we cannot? Hmmm, must be they have better GMs!

  13. By RagingREDBirds on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    The Question is not who we want back…. It is we don’t really know what they are worth on the open market. Malik Jackson got an average 14 Plus million a year deal last year.. He is younger but 6 yrs 85 million…. Michael Bennett who is a year older I think signed for 10.5 so if Calais signed a 3yr 31 million dollar deal like Bennett the Cards should want him back… If he gets Jackson money or wants a five year contract the answer is No… Only time will tell

  14. By Big Ken on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply

    I’m an Air Force Academy fan. Their WR Jalen Robinette is featured this week in the East West Shrine game. Just say’n Mr. Kiem.

  15. By CardsNation on Jan 18, 2017 | Reply


    2015 NFL draft was one of the best drafts in Cardinals history. We’re not bad at the draft at all and nobody is good at the draft either. We didn’t let any “core playmakers” go, did we? The Browns let Alex Mack go. Each player will have a different salary based on their performances, it applies to all NFL teams.

    One of the biggest reasons why a team is willing to trade a good player is because it costs too much. We have so many free agents, CC, TJ, TJS, CJ, etc. We don’t have the money to trade a talented WR or CB. Drafting a WR or CB is much cheaper and they can last at least 3-5 years.

    Keim won’t make a decision just because he is “getting so much heat from the fans,” A good GM will won’t do that. I strongly disagree that we need to draft a QB, maybe in the late round.

    Kizer is a straight bust, if Keim decides to draft him, he should get fire. Kizer is big and has the arm that Arians wants. So was Jake Locker. Kizer is super inconsistent and inaccurate. He reminds me so much of Jake Locker, bust, bust, bust. The Browns will likely to draft Kizer, he is a bust QB and the Browns always draft a bust QB, nothing surprising.

    I don’t think Keim is bad GM. Bruce Arians developed so many good QBs. Peyton Manning, Big Ben, Andrew Luck, and now Carson Palmer. He is still the QB whisperer. Before his departure, we will have a franchise QB and I will miss Keim and Arians.

  16. By Cardinal's Chick on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    The Cardinal’s don’t let those who are truly talented play-makers walk, The salary cap dictates that.

    BA does not have less patience with the QB position. IMO the QB position was not the issue this year. Palmer was one of the highest sacked QBs this year. That’s because he wasn’t getting the protection that he needed…and THAT was primarily the result of a multitude of injuries.

    The QB class this year is anemic…so I doubt the Cardinals will waste a draft pick for the position…unless it is a later round pick or better yet grab an undrafted rookie. Either way, I think the decisions that are going to be made during FA and the draft for the position will be the result of confidence in who we already have, and whatever the available talent pool is.

    The Cardinal’s have made some pretty good picks…ESPECIALLY in the past few years. So, I’m not sure where comments like that are coming from. The draft is kind of like a visit to Vegas. Sometimes you hit big, sometimes you get a mediocre payout, and sometimes it is a bust. That is typical for most teams.

    It is mind boggling to me the way people were singing Keim/BA’s praises this time last year…and now because we had a bad year are questioning their desire to invest in the FA’s, and ability to make good decision related to the draft.


  17. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    Cardinal’s Chick;

    The draft is like Vegas ???

    Understand this, before the draft, you get to interview a player, his coaches, his friends, his teammates. You get to look up his background. Find out what kind of student they are. In interviews, you can have them draw up plays to see their understanding of an offense/defense. Even private investigators have been brought in.

    Then you have tape. Game after game, play after play, that you can go through, year after year. In many cases, scouts know players from High School. These players are evaluated on every snap on the field.
    By the time the draft comes along, you should know this guy inside and out.

    So, the curious case of the 2016 draft comes in.

    – Robert Nkemdichi was well known for his fall out of a window while on drugs. He was well known for taking plays off. So well known, BA commented on it. He was known to not work hard. He even wanted to buy a Tiger or something, a statement before the draft. But in spite of these warning signs, Keim took him in round one. Not a flyer later in the draft, but round one. Meanwhile, 29 teams passed on him. Several players (at the same position) picked after him, are now starting for their teams.

    Understand the facts. The next 6 Dlineman picked after Nkemdiche are all starting. #31 Vernon Butler, #32 Emmanual Ogbah, #37 Chris Jones, #44 Jihad Ward, #46 A’Shawn Robinson, and #48 Jarron Reed.

    – Brandon Williams was known as a RB turned CB. He had very poor technique and even less experience. Sure he was athletic and fast, but there are a lot of guys sitting home that were athletic and fast. Yet, he was a third rounder.

    So, I beg the question, how do you make these mistakes? The draft isn’t Vegas !! You knew exactly what you were getting. You limit the odds by research and knowledge.

    Now, they were hoping Nkemdiche would be this beast that flashed at times. But the draft isn’t about hoping. You have the knowledge in front of you. Don’t pick against the facts. 29 teams didn’t.

    Cooper was not functionally strong at the point of attack. It showed in the NFL
    Minter was not fast enough to go side line to side line, it showed in the NFL.
    Bucannon was not good in coverage. it has shown in the NFL (luckily Belcher found another spot for him)
    Humphries was known to be immature and not a hard worker, it showed in the NFL.

    This is a trend with the cardinals. Either the scouting is poor or Keim goes against the info he is getting. But crapshoot?? Worst phrase in the NFL about the draft. That is a justification to poor decisions.

  18. By Scott H on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Dude….who is Belcher??? Was that intentional? Made me laugh just the same!

  19. By Big Ken on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    I think the Cardinals draft a QB, but not until the 3rd round or after. No DeShone Kizer unless he slides big time.

  20. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,


    Just a mistake. Mind going faster than fingers typing.

  21. By JTDG on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    Big Ken,


    He will slide. I really do not think he goes round 1 in spite of all the predictions. Some have him in the top 5.

    Jacoby Brissett went to the Patriots in round 3 last year. He has talent but was raw. That is where Kizer should go.

    But truthfully, as this process begins, his talent in shorts will shine. He is athletic, has a good arm, and is smart. He stands at 6’4″ and 230 pounds

    To me, someone drafts him in the top half of round 2 (ie – Geno Smith). Watch me be wrong and Cleveland takes him with the 12th pick.

  22. By CardsNation on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply


    When Nkemdichi becomes a top 10 talents in NFL. What are you gonna say?You make the job of a GM sounds so easy. You need to realize there are only 32 GMs in the NFL. There are millions of people in America. 32 of them get to become the GMs but some of them are still getting fired and replaced each year.

    The draft is about hoping and you don’t have the knowledge in front of you. Yes, you can interview them and have the basics. But their future is determined by themselves, you can’t help it. There are many draft busts each year and you’re gonna blame all that on the mismanagements of the GM?. Keim is not the only one who drafted poor players. I don’t think you would bother to talk about the draft if we have a better record than 7-8-1.

  23. By Wild Blue Yonder on Jan 19, 2017 | Reply

    Mehinks that someone is stuffing the Thumbs Up ballot box.

  24. By Scott H on Jan 20, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: Belcher

    Oh, man, I almost wish you had said it was intentional! That would have been beautiful! As typos go, that is one of the all-timers.

  25. By JTDG on Jan 20, 2017 | Reply


    If Nkemdichi was a top 10 talent…..

    I would say still say it was a bad pick. You can’t go against what is in front of you.

    You see, Nkemdichi had obvious red flags all over him. No one can deny that. The things I said are facts. Correct? Seriously, he did take plays off, fall out of a window while high and wanted to buy a panther (not tiger). You aren’t disbuting any of that are you?

    Now, when Badger came out, he was a first round talent and fell to round 3. When Dockett came out, he was a first round talent, who fell to round 3. They were picked in the right spot. They made it. But many others with issues did not. Just look at Johnny Manzel.

    Talent is only one part of the equation. You will hear me say many times when talking about the draft that so much depends on the interviews, private meetings, things that we aren’t given access to.

    The draft is about hoping? That is crazy. Jimmy Johnson had it down to a science with a point system that most have adapted.

    But if it is just hoping, I got a plan. Raffle out tickets for one lucky fan each round to pick our player. Then, we all can just hope we win. . After all, GMs don’t have knowledge in front of them, right?

    I no longer need to say anything negative about Keim, because you just mastered the Keim insult. He doesn’t have any knowledge in front of him and it is luck if his pick hits or not. Wow, that is tougher than anything I can come up with.

    I make it sound easy for a GM? How? As I outlined, there is a ton of work that goes into each pick. Years of work, months of tape and interviews. Long scouting road trips. What I said is trust what you find. If a player is a knucklehead, don’t draft him in round one no matter how good they flash. If they don’t show it on tape, don’t hope they will someday. That makes so little sense.

    As for talking about the draft only because of the record, oh I guess you are new to the board. Well documented in the archives

    – I am on here saying the 2011 draft was loaded and I would have taken the Falcon deal.
    – 2012, I believed the only way Whiz could save his job is draft a QB and pleaded for us to trade up to land Tannehill.
    – 2013, I was very vocal about not taking cooper. I wanted to trade down, get another 2 and draft a safety (Vacarro) and in round two take Jamie Collins
    -2014, I was very vocal that Bucannon would be a bad pick at safety because he was bad in coverage.
    – 2015, I was very vocal about the draft and the pick of Humphries.

    This isn’t new and I am not jumping on Keim or Graves after the facts. I voice my opinion long before the draft. And if they make a bad pick, I voice my opinion before the player takes the field.

  26. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 20, 2017 | Reply

    clssylssy —

    Keeping all of one’s core players is tough. It’s not a problem that all other teams have figured out, and somehow the Cards are bad at it.

    You think the Broncos wouldn’t have liked to keep Malik Jackson? Miami wanted to let Olivier Vernon go?

    Every year, dozens of free agents are signed by new teams. Some of them are huge stars, and some of them are just run-of-the-mill guys. Do some teams do a better job with the cap than others? Sure. One thing that really helps is having an inexpensive but effective QB. It’s hardly shocking that the Seahawks’ rise to Super Bowl participation in two consecutive years coincided with having a very good QB on a rookie contract. Starting in 2016, paying him $87M over 4 years instead of just $3M over his first four years, things got a lot harder for the Seahawks.

    This past year, if I recall correctly, we returned EVERY player on offense who touched the ball, whether as a QB, receiver or running back. That’s on top of upgrading at O-line with Mathis (although that didn’t work out) and on the defensive side with Jones among others. Yeah, we lost some guys on D too, but we certainly did a good job keeping the core together. This year, we have more FA’s than usual, but we’ll see how it shakes out.

  27. By clssylssy on Jan 21, 2017 | Reply

    Kevin and others…
    I know it’s quite a goal to keep all core players however there are many teams who strive to do just that, are pretty good at it, and make the playoffs nearly every year–they at least hit .500 or better. The Seahawks, Broncos, Steelers, Bengals, etc., don’t keep everybody but churn the roster throughout so as to keep things fresh and competitive AND they also manage to reach agreements with most of their best players because they are winners and players want to stay with a winner. When Denver needed a defense a few years ago John Elway pulled out the stops to get a killer D, paid top dollar and won a SB. Elway played the game, has been on the winning side of the ring ceremony and knows it’s going to take paying the price of admission to get in the door. And, where did our offense get us this year? Our O-line was supposedly our “weak link” but, most of the season we had one WR we could count on and David Johnson. So much for retaining every player who made a TD…seems the evaluation process was flawed! Without the leadership on defense that we sacrificed (and we’re not talking that much money) our defense was rudderless and lethargic most of the time when it really counted. IMO, when we lost to the Saints, that was a shinning example of how ineffective our defense was; we could beat Wilson and the Hawks because we play them all the time and know how to pin Russell Wilson down but going against an elite QB (on a very average team at best) our defense looked like the keystone cops.
    Nonetheless, talent wasn’t our problem this year, except for the fact that we were unable to get replacement players when injuries occurred and had to resort to 3rd and 4th stringers and guys off the street. Carson Palmer is still one tough hombre who can take hit after hit and keep on going, is still better than many franchise guys who are much younger with less grit and football smarts.
    Many fans have forgotten the learning curve for the Arians/Horton/Bowles/Bettcher scheme and don’t remember that it took at least half the season for our experienced veterans to become somewhat comfortable with,so, therein lies much of my desire to retain our playmakers. While the draft and FA always sound like some sort of magic pill that contains all the answers, there is still going to be that major learning curve which is exactly why many of our draft picks don’t even see the field their first year. Yep, it’s cheap labor but if you can’t use it or have to put it away to “grow into” exactly how much of a good deal are we getting?

  28. By clssylssy on Jan 23, 2017 | Reply

    What a great show put on by the Falcons! Shows what “aggressive” comes down to when going out and getting the talent to put a Championship team together. How many draft picks did they give up for Julio Jones? Dan Quinn has done a Masterful job!
    And great interview by Dwight Freeney after the game! You could see his finger prints all over that defense, with Freeman becoming the Master of the “spin move”–they reminded me of the 2015 Cards a little. And, to think Dwight wanted to come back to Arizona, guess things happened for a reason Dwight! You were “too old” for the Cards in SK’s mind (which is very telling), but I will be cheering for you in the SB. Like Fitz, some players just seem to get better with age and their kind of class doesn’t come along often.
    So happy for Larry Fitzgerald, being a finalist for the Walter Payton Award. He has spent his entire career in service to the sick, less fortunate, and our military, and especially to kids, not only in multiple communities stateside but internationally as well. He is a National Treasure who we have been fortunate to call ours, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

  29. By Cardinal's Chick on Jan 25, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG – I’m late with this message, so you may not see it, but…

    “Like Vegas” the analogy there refers to the intangibles that can’t be discovered through the efforts that you mention (i.e., interviews, game tape, investigators, etc.). There are some players that just don’t make the adjustment from College ball to professional football. That is the hit or miss that I am referring to.

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