The Cardinals are hoping for a major turnaround in 2020 behind quarterback Kyler Murray, but the roster still needs to be upgraded. General Manager Steve Keim has some cap space this offseason and will aim to plug holes on both sides of the ball. We will break down each position group leading up to free agency, which begins with the legal tampering period on Monday, March 16.
Free agent primer: Cornerback
Cap hit of players under contract for 2020 (via OverTheCap.com): Patrick Peterson ($13.18 million); Robert Alford ($7.5 million); Byron Murphy Jr. ($1.82 million); Chris Jones ($660,000); Jalen Davis ($660,000); Andre Chachere ($510,000).
Scheduled free agents: Kevin Peterson (restricted); Brandon Williams.
Analysis: The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass last season, which would normally point to a reboot in the secondary, but that might not be the case. Patrick Peterson missed the first six games of the season and was subpar upon his return, but improved mightily down the stretch. If Peterson is back to his Pro Bowl form, the Cardinals have a shutdown corner on one side of the field.
Robert Alford signed a multi-year deal in free agency last offseason and looked worthy of it in training camp, but broke his leg in a collision with Damiere Byrd and missed the whole season. If he has a clean bill of health heading into 2020, Alford should slide in to the other outside cornerback spot.
Byron Murphy had some issues as a rookie but will be counted on to settle in at slot corner with Alford on the outside. Much is expected of the No. 33 overall pick from last year's draft. If the three top spots are filled as projected, the Cardinals wouldn't have a dire need for another cornerback in free agency.
While big names like Byron Jones and Chris Harris are impending free agents, the signing of a marquee player seems unlikely unless there is a corresponding move at the position.
The Cardinals could be in search of depth, whether that's bringing back restricted free agent Kevin Peterson or looking at other options. Chris Jones will compete for one of the backup roles, while Jalen Davis and Andre Chachere hope to make an offseason impression.
Notable past free agent cornerback signings: Alford (2019); Bené Benwikere (2018); Tramon Williams (2017); Antonio Cromartie (2014); Jerraud Powers (2013); Antoine Cason (2013); William Gay (2012); Bryant McFadden (2009); Roderick Hood (2007); Ralph Brown (2007); David Macklin (2004); Duane Starks (2002).
Images of cornerbacks scheduled to hit the free agent market