Losing Robert Alford all but guaranteed the Cardinals were going to need to seek some veteran help at cornerback, so Friday, they started that process.
The signed veterans B.W. Webb and Ken Crawley to one-year deals, trying to bolster the depth of the position while trying to figure out what to do in the aftermath of Alford's injury.
"We feel we have some numbers, whether it is nickel or corner, and how it's going to fit in those spots and what gives us … our best 11 on the field at the same time," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "It'll be good battles for those spots."
Alford was officially placed on injured reserve Friday with a torn pectoral muscle, creating one of the roster spots and ending his season. Because he is going on injured reserve now and not after the final roster cutdown process, Alford is not eligible to return this year.
The Cards still had an open roster spot after tackle Marcus Gilbert opted out for the season.
Byron Murphy Jr., who had been slotted to play nickel for the Cards before Alford went down, is still the most likely choice to start outside across from Patrick Peterson. But if the Cardinals see enough from someone else -- be it in Webb or holdovers Kevin Peterson or Chris Jones -- perhaps the Cards can keep Murphy inside.
The signings do not preclude the Cardinals from seeking another veteran who could potentially start and allow Murphy to play his more natural position. The Cards reportedly also brought in veteran Dre Kirkpatrick in for a visit.
"I have all the trust in the world in Murphy, he can play outside and inside," Peterson said. "Wherever we play Murphy, he's going to be excellent. He's a great inside guy and he's gained more and more confident throughout this camp playing outside, making a ton of plays."
Peterson also praised undrafted rookie Jace Whittaker and Jalen Davis, who spent time on the practice squad last season, for their work in the nickel spot.
For Webb. a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Cowboys, the Cardinals are his ninth organization. He spent 2019 with the Bengals, starting 12 games with an interception. In his career he has 35 starts in 80 games. Crawley, who was release by the Raiders earlier this week, spent time with the Dolphins and Saints last season. He has 25 starts in 43 career games after entering the league undrafted in 2016.
"We're going to continue to work through who is going to play that corner opposite of Pat, but we like some of the guys we have," Kingsbury said. "They just have to keep making plays when their number is called."