With free agency about five weeks away, the number of lists and predictions about the potential free agents available are only going to increase. And the latest comes from The Athletic, which ranked the Top 75 free-agents-to-be in the NFL.
Three Cardinals ended up on the list:
- No. 6 OLB Chandler Jones
- No. 31 WR Christian Kirk
- No. 57 TE Zach Ertz
Jones in particular will be fascinating to watch. Good pass rushers are always in demand. That -- on this list at least -- he is considered one of the best six players going to the market is normally a harbinger of a big offer from somewhere. He actually may figure in as a top two or three depending on whether the franchise tag is used on any of the guys ahead of him. He's the highest-ranked available pass rusher (the second is at No. 11 -- Von Miller.)
There remains a possibility the Cardinals could tag Jones, which they did after the 2016 season, before he eventually got his giant extension a few weeks later. Since he's been tagged before, his tag number would be a little more than $24 million if the Cardinals were to go that route. Jones was disappointed he didn't get an extension before this, but he's also said little on the subject. At the Pro Bowl last week, he told Dani Sureck "I'm just taking it one day at a time and we'll see what happens."
Kirk is coming off his best season, although he fell just short of 1,000 yards receiving. He was better suited playing in the slot full time for the first time. He wants to stay and play for his hometown team, but there should be a market for him, and the Cardinals also have to figure out what they'd want to do with Rondale Moore -- a slot possibility -- going forward.
As for Ertz, he also played well after his trade to the Cardinals, tying the franchise record for catches by a tight end in a season despite playing just 11 games. The Cardinals need to decide how much money it would be worth to spend on a player north of 30 (as is Jones), and where another free agent, Maxx Williams, fits in to the mix too.
Noticeably not on The Athletic's list is running back James Conner. The only running back on the list is RB/WR hybrid Cordorrelle Patterson. So what will Conner's market be, and can the Cards make that happen?