Free agency begins on March 11. The Cardinals have many key pieces in place, but there are still needs to be addressed. We’ll break it down by position over the next 10 days as unsigned NFL players prepare to hit the open market.
Free agent primer: Cornerback
Analysis: Patrick Peterson is now eligible for a contract extension, and the Cardinals plan on keeping him around as their shutdown corner for a long time. Jerraud Powers is slated to start opposite him once again in 2014.
The Cardinals have their three top cornerbacks returning, but in an increasingly pass-happy league, dime packages are used frequently to counter multiple receiver sets, so there is always a need for quality backups. The Cardinals have two dynamic players here in Peterson and Mathieu, so General Manager Steve Keim may not go after a top-tier free agent cornerback, but it’s still a position of need. Cason and Arenas were signed to cheap one-year deals a season ago, and the Cardinals may aim to find low-cost veterans again once the market settles. If Mathieu suffers a setback in his recovery, the need immediately becomes greater.
Notable scheduled NFL free agents: Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris, Captain Munnerlyn, Alterraun Verner, Drayton Florence, Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner, Will Blackmon, Tarell Brown, Quentin Jammer, Sam Shields, Jabari Greer, Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey, Dunta Robinson, DeAngelo Hall, Charles Tillman, Cortland Finnegan.
Notable past free agent CB signings by the Cardinals: Jerraud Powers (2013); Antoine Cason (2013); William Gay (2012); Bryant McFadden (2009); Roderick Hood (2007); Ralph Brown (2007); David Macklin (2004); Duane Starks (2002).