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Cardinals Enter Second Part Of Free Agency

Posted Mar 20, 2018

After the initial wave, team still looking in a market that has slowed down

The Cardinals signed quarterback Sam Bradford in the first week of free agency.

The second wave of free agency is underway.

By the time the second week of the new league year arrives, all the main targets of the open market – some big contracts, some just specific additions to a particular team – are signed. It is one of the reasons Tyrann Mathieu, in his introductory press conference with the Texans Monday, noted when talking about his new one-year contract.

“Getting released at the beginning of the new league year, I felt like I had to make a decision fast,” Mathieu said.

The NFL’s giant game of musical chairs makes it more difficult to find a seat the later free agency goes, especially to get the kind of money some players had been expecting.

The Cardinals still have work to do – they have 61 on an offseason roster that will eventually reach 90 – and positions they want to address. Wide receiver is one, as John Brown (Ravens) and Jaron Brown (Seahawks) left on one-year contracts. Cornerback is another, with Justin Bethel (who visited with the Falcons Tuesday) not expected to return. Tramon Williams, who played well as a starter after taking over for Bethel, remains a prime candidate to return if the sides can come to an agreement.

The Cardinals have had wide receiver Jordan Matthews and cornerback E.J. Gaines in for visits.

The first days of free agency the team spent on fixing the quarterback position – which was vacant at this time last week – and the offensive line. The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford to start at quarterback and Mike Glennon as a veteran backup. They also signed tackle Andre Smith and guard Justin Pugh, as well as reworking guard Mike Iupati’s deal so he would remain.

According to the NFL Players Association website, the Cardinals had a little more than $12 million in salary cap space Tuesday after their initial free-agent signings last week and player releases.

Of the Cardinals’ former players, besides the Browns, linebacker Kareem Martin signed with the Giants. He will be joined by defensive lineman Josh Mauro, who was released by the Cards last week. Matt Barkley became the first of the Cardinals’ ex-quarterbacks to sign elsewhere when he inked a deal with the Bengals. Linebacker Karlos Dansby reportedly visited the Bills and Jets, while quarterback Blaine Gabbert visited the Titans.

Restricted free agent Xavier Williams, who received a tender offer from the Cardinals, is signing with the Chiefs after the Cards declined to match Kansas City's offer. The Cardinals get no compensation in the deal.

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