Football is finally back as the Arizona Cardinals are entering their second week of training camp. As camp moves along each year, the front office gets a better idea of where their roster stands, particularly once the pads come on.
General manager Steve Keim has had plenty of success adding free agents to the roster during training camp. Owner Michael Bidwill has stated earlier this offseason the team will look to remain aggressive all offseason.
Who are some of the best remaining fits for the Cardinals? For this list, we’ll exclude free agents who were on the team last year, such as Robert Alford and Corey Peters.
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Trey Flowers, EDGE
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Trey Flowers was once a standout on the dominant Patriots defense from 2015-2018, winning two Super Bowls with the organization. He was then signed to a lucrative free agent contract by the Detroit Lions in 2019.
Since departing New England, Flowers has not found the same level of success in the Motor City. He had a nice seven-sack campaign in 2019, but injuries have held him to just 14 games played in the past two seasons.
At just 29 years old, Flowers could be a veteran addition on the outside to help with the young edge rushers currently slated to start. Perhaps on a significant better team than the 2020-2021 Lions, Flowers could re-capture some of the performances from his days as a Patriot.
Joe Haden, CB
(AP Photo/Don Wright)
Haden has been one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL, particularly since being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. At 33 years old, he posted a 63.4 PFF rating from last season.
The former No. 7 overall pick has been the true No. 1 man-to-man defender for the Steelers for five seasons. The three-time Pro Bowler’s skillset would fit in nicely with Vance Joseph’s scheme, where a lot of press man-to-man coverage is employed. Having a reliable veteran cornerback like Haden on the back end would make Joseph more comfortable sending pressure.
The Cardinals’ secondary is extremely young, but talented. Haden would by far be the oldest of the bunch and his experience to the developing unit would be extremely beneficial.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury stated recently that he expects the team to monitor the cornerback situation, as well as many of the top remaining free agents.
Anthony Barr, LB
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Anthony Barr is a longtime standout defender from the Minnesota Vikings. He’s been one of the leaders of a few top-notch defenses over the past few seasons.
Barr’s greatest trait is his positional flexibility at the linebacker position, something this front office has highly coveted the past few seasons. He spends time playing off the ball in coverage but has also proven to be an effective blitzer.
In 2021, Barr compiled 72 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three interceptions. These stats are impressive given him missing six games. Barr has unfortunately dealt with some injury history in recent years, missing all of 2020 and those six games in 2021.
Still, players of Barr’s caliber at only age 30 are not often available at this point in the year. With the Cardinals deploying Isaiah Simmons in a hybrid safety/slot defender role this season, it would be beneficial for the team to add an inside linebacker presence like Barr.
Ndamukong Suh, DT
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Suh is entering the final stages of his extremely successful NFL career. The 35-year-old most recently played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was vital to the team’s Super Bowl championship in 2020.
The Cardinals’ interior defensive line does have some question marks. While the two are great when healthy, starters JJ Watt and Zach Allen have missed some time in recent memory. Adding a force like Suh only makes that group better.
The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All Pro member had six sacks in each of the past two seasons. That’s extraordinarily impressive playing from the interior, proving he’s still an impact player in this league. Perhaps equally impressive is Suh appearing in every game for the Bucs in the past three seasons.
Suh played under Vance Joseph when he was the defensive coordinator in Miami. If anyone has witnessed his dominant level of firsthand play, it’s the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.