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2020 Free Agent Primer: Safety

Cardinals' evaluation of Jalen Thompson could dictate activity at position

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: Safety

Other positional primers: LB I WR I DL I QB I CB I TE I RB I ST I OL

Cap hit of players under contract for 2020 (via OverTheCap.com): Budda Baker ($2.17 million); Deionte Thompson ($672,452); Jalen Thompson ($670,730).

Scheduled free agents: Chris Banjo; Charles Washington (restricted).

Need: Medium

2020 Free Agent Tracker Promo Graphic

The NFL free agency period is officially underway. Use our free agent tracker page to follow all the movement.

Analysis: Budda Baker made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and returns to anchor the position group. Jalen Thompson took over as the other starting safety following the early-season release of D.J. Swearinger and seemed to settle in nicely to the role. If the Cardinals believe the fifth-round supplemental draft selection showed enough to stick in that spot, they won't need to be too active in free agency.

Fellow fifth-rounder Deionte Thompson didn't have as much of an impact as a rookie and will aim to find his niche in 2020. Chris Banjo is an impending free agent and could be an option to return both as a key special teams piece and a backup safety. Charles Washington was another special teams ace who will be a restricted free agent.

If the Cardinals want to add another high-profile safety to the mix, some of the bigger names set to hit the market include Anthony Harris, Justin Simmons, Jimmie Ward and Devin McCourty. Tony Jefferson is currently a free agent after the Ravens released him, but the former Cardinal is recovering from a torn ACL.

If the Cardinals prefer Jalen Thompson to be their third safety in 2020, they could be in the market for a starter. If they are comfortable with his play as a rookie, depth would be the only need at the position.

Notable past free agent safety signings: Tre Boston (2018); Antoine Bethea (2017); Tyvon Branch (2016); Yeremiah Bell (2013); James Sanders (2012); Hamza Abdullah (2009); Dexter Jackson (2003); Matt Darby (1996); Andre Waters (1994); Mike Zordich (1989).

Images of some of the top safeties scheduled to hit the open market

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