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Breaking Down The Cardinals' Roster After 2023

Loaded with draft picks and cap space, GM Monti Ossenfort set up for big moves

GM Monti Ossenfort will have a big offseason ahead to reshape the roster after his first season on the job.
GM Monti Ossenfort will have a big offseason ahead to reshape the roster after his first season on the job.

At this time last year, there was a lot of uncertainty around the Cardinals, then without a GM, without a coach, and with a quarterback facing months of rehab on a serious injury.

The win-loss record ultimately ended the same, but the organization's place is vastly different, with GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon handcrafting the first version of their vision into a team that generates optimism -- as long as the arc they set in motion continues on the same path.

"The roster will be different every year, and there'll be a new team," Gannon said the day after the season. "I told them (Monday) that you've got to start from scratch and that's what we're going to do in the offseason, when they get back in the building and then in training camp -- all that stuff. I think we have a lot of guys that can play winning football and impact the game in a positive way."

It's well know the Cardinals are loaded in the draft, with six picks in the first three rounds and 11 overall, including the fourth overall. That's what Ossenfort will use to upgrade the roster, although first comes free agency. The Cardinals only have 17 unrestricted free agents, and some (Marlon Mack, Rashad Fenton, Pat Elflein) spent the season on IR and are unlikely to return.

But the Cardinals, per, are projected to have about $51 million in salary cap space and will have the chance to add a key piece or two in March, helping them set up what they will want/need to do in the draft.

With the season coming to a close, writer Darren Urban gives his personal take on the majority of the Cardinals' roster heading into the offseason. UFA is unrestricted free agent. RFA is restricted free agent (and whose movement can be controlled with a tender offer, which gives right of first refusal). ERFA is exclusive rights, meaning a player must accept a tender offer.

Free agency always plays a big role in how the roster evolves for next season, given the free-agents-to-be. Comments are for today and the future for any particular player is fluid.

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Kyler Murray 2029 QB1 showed significant progress after ACL return
Clayton Tune 2026 Needs to keep improving; will be interesting to see what other QBs are signed
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Michael Carter 2024 Showed to be valuable waiver claim in tandem with Conner
James Conner 2024 Huge production on field and as heart and soul of team
Emari Demercado 2025 Rookie carved out role as quality third-down back
Tony Jones Signed futures contract Provides veteran body that will fight for role
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Andre Baccellia Signed futures contract The break-glass-in-emergency wideout
Marquise Brown *UFA* Possible return, but market will dictate where Hollywood goes
Greg Dortch *ERFA* He gets a chance, he makes plays
Michael Wilson 2026 Had injuries and drought, but showed serious potential
Rondale Moore 2024 Found a role as both receiver and "running back"
Zach Pascal 2024 Limited work for the veteran this season
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Geoff Swaim *UFA* Smart veteran who could return, embraced block-first role
Trey McBride 2025 This close to stardom
Benhard Seikovits Signed futures contract The international piece will stay on his Cardinals journey
Elijah Higgins 2026 Former receiver showed pass-catching promise
Blake Whiteheart 2024 Will have to battle all the young tight ends for a spot
Trevor Vokolek 2024 Huge rookie may be a younger version of Swaim
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Kelvin Beachum (T) 2024 Probably would prefer to start, but veteran still helps as fill-in and in locker room
Trystan Colon (G/C) *UFA* Got time at left guard but could have interest on open market
Dennis Daley (G) 2024 Had a chance to start but was inactive down the stretch
Hjalte Froholdt (C) 2024 Was pleasant surprise as starter and showed athleticism
Jon Gaines (C) 2026 Lost rookie year to knee injury
Marquis Hayes (G) Signed futures contract Former Keim draft pick that will try to earn role
Will Hernandez (G) 2024 Quietly had strong season
D.J. Humphries (T) 2025 ACL injury throws future in flux
Keith Ismael (G/C) *RFA* Didn't see a lot of time after joining team
Paris Johnson Jr. (T) 2026 Played every snap as a rookie and has a bright future
Carter O'Donnell (G) *ERFA* Got some time but will have to work for roster spot
Elijah Wilkinson (G) *UFA* Left guard starter much of season but Cards will look to upgrade
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L.J. Collier *UFA* Was trying to make it on prove-it deal - then season was wiped out with injury
Leki Fotu *UFA* The last remaining member of the 2020 draft class could leave
Phil Hoskins 2024 Was starting by season's end despite not signing - to practice squad - until October
Naquan Jones 2024 Another late addition who was forced into lineup due to injuries
Jonathan Ledbetter *RFA* Great in locker room, helps on field but now dealing with ACL injury
Roy Lopez 2024 Valley native provided crucial help after all the injuries
Ben Stille 2024 The Cardinals got him to the roster at the end of the season, so he's wanted
Dante Stills 2026 Sixth-round pick has chance to develop into front-line player
Carlos Watkins *UFA* Like Collier, injury derailed prove-it season
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Zaven Collins 2024 In his first year as an OLB, was PFF's highest-graded Cardinal on defense
Victor Dimukeje 2024 Found a role in the rotation of the new defense
Dennis Gardeck 2024 Came out hot playing edge but production didn't hold up; remains key on special teams
Jesse Luketa *ERFA* Played OLB, FB, ST and his car famously broke down
BJ Ojulari 2026 Playing time kept increasing and team will rely on him in 2024
Tyreke Smith 2024 Cardinals trying to see what he might be
Cameron Thomas 2025 Ended up inactive the last two games of season
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Krys Barnes *UFA* Cardinals were fortunate to sign a third veteran since injuries took down White, Woods
Tyreek Maddox-Williams 2024 Late-season addition for special teams
Trevor Nowaske 2024 Waiver pickup will be evaluated in offseason
Owen Pappoe 2026 Rookie got a chance to play significant time in final month
Ezekiel Turner *UFA* Keeps turning special teams value into contracts
Kyzir White 2024 Was a good player and leader; defense suffered when injury ended season
Josh Woods *UFA* Good in locker room and special teams, tried to upgrade his role on defense
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Antonio Hamilton *UFA* The lone CB vet, was by far their best at the position
Bobby Price *UFA* Shined on special teams
Kei'Trel Clark 2026 Started early, no defensive snaps late as rookie still had much to learn
Garrett Williams 2026 Rookie was the guy the Cardinals want to groom as slot CB
Starling Thomas V 2025 Another rookie who got a bunch of starts to flatten future learning curve
Divaad Wilson 2024 Yet another rookie Cardinals want to evaluate this offseason
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Budda Baker 2024 Toughest season, without splash plays, but still was impactful leader
Andre Chachere 2024 When needed, he jumped into the lineup with his Nick Rallis familiarity
Jalen Thompson 2025 Had excellent season as both safety and slot but continues to be under radar
Joey Blount 2024 Special teams ace and got first NFL INT to close out Eagles
Qwuantrezz Knight 2024 Interesting personality who will vie for role next season
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Aaron Brewer (LS) *UFA* Ended up doing the job again in his 13th season
Blake Gillikin (P) *UFA* Set franchise record with 50.6 yards a punt
Matt Prater (K) 2024 Forget finale; was excellent weapon and nearly automatic from long range
Matt Hembrough (LS) 2025 Rookie was on IR all year but there is a reason Cardinals kept him around