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. This is the final positional group breakdown leading into free agency, which is scheduled to begin with the legal tampering period on Monday, March 16.
Free agent primer: Offensive Line
Cap hit of players under contract for 2020 (via OverTheCap.com): T D.J. Humphries ($12.8 million); G Justin Pugh ($10.5 million); G J.R. Sweezy ($6.5 million); C Mason Cole ($887,629); G/C Lamont Gaillard ($632,034); T Joshua Miles ($603,644); T Brett Toth ($585,000); G Sam Jones ($585,000).
Scheduled free agents: C A.Q. Shipley; T Justin Murray (exclusive rights); T Marcus Gilbert; T Jordan Mills; G Max Garcia.
Analysis: The Cardinals locked down an integral piece by re-signing D.J. Humphries to a three-year deal in February. He will return to play left tackle, while Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy are projected to return as the starting guards. Starting center A.Q. Shipley is an impending free agent, and it remains to be seen if he returns or if the Cardinals go younger at the position. Mason Cole started all 16 games as a rookie in 2018 and filled in at multiple spots last season.
Right tackle is the most intriguing position. Justin Murray started most of the season after veteran Marcus Gilbert tore his ACL, and improved as the year went on. He will be back as an exclusive rights free agent, so it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals plunk him in as a low-cost starter or if they look for a higher-priced veteran to fortify the position. It's tough to pencil in Gilbert as a clear-cut starter due to his extensive injury history, but he is a talented player who shouldn't command the type of salary he did in past years.
Brett Toth, Lamont Gaillard and Joshua Miles are a trio of young players aiming to get into the mix with a solid offseason, while Sam Jones hopes to make the team after spending 2019 on the practice squad.
General Manager Steve Keim could stick with familiar faces at every position, or he could look to revamp a spot or two on the free agent market. Some of the top tackles scheduled to hit the market include Jack Conklin, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Castonzo and Jason Peters. If Keim wants to add an interior player, prominent impending free agents include Brandon Scherff, Joe Thuney and Andrus Peat.
Notable past free agent special teams signings: Sweezy (2019); Pugh (2018); Andre Smith (2018); Alex Boone (2017); Earl Watford (2017); Evan Mathis (2016); Mike Iupati (2015); Shipley (2015); Jared Veldheer (2014); Ted Larsen (2014); Eric Winston (2013); Adam Snyder (2012); Daryn Colledge (2011); Rex Hadnot (2010); Mike Gandy (2007); Al Johnson (2007); Milford Brown (2006); Oliver Ross (2005); Pete Kendall (2001); Mike Gruttadauria (2000); Lester Holmes (1998); Lomas Brown (1996).
Images of offensive linemen scheduled to hit the open market