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Free Agent Primer 2024: Inside Linebacker

White's leadership remains but who starts beside him?


After finishing his first season as a head coach with a 4-13 record, Jonathan Gannon said that while he was pleased with the teams’ fight, it simply wasn’t good enough. Now that those in the locker room and throughout the league have an idea how a Gannon-Monti Ossenfort regime operates, they'll look to build a playoff contender through free agency and the draft. The new league year begins on March 13, and with that comes free agency. Here's the fourth of 11 position breakdowns.

Free Agent primer schedule: ILB Feb. 23; ST Feb. 24; WR Feb. 26; CB March 4; RB March 5; S March 6; TE March 7, OLB March 8

Other free agent primers: DL, OL, QB

Cap hit of players under contract for 2024 (via Kyzir White ($6,750,000), Owen Pappoe ($976,245), Trevor Nowaske ($915,000), Tyreek Maddox-Williams ($915,000)

Scheduled free agents: Ezekiel Turner, Josh Woods, Krys Barnes

Need: Medium

Analysis: When Kyzir White came to the Valley, following Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis from Philadelphia, he brought a level of intensity and scheme familiarity that helped the entire defense. There was also a level of toughness. In Week 1, although a flag was thrown, White leveled Commanders quarterback Sam Howell along the sidelines. He also played multiple snaps with a torn bicep. Even though he missed 7 games, White still finished the season as the Cardinals leading tackler with 90.

Once he was placed on injured reserve, it was evident how much the Cardinals missed him. Josh Woods and Krys Barnes got time in White's absence, their experience serving as the green dot valuable.

The reasoning behind this being a medium need as opposed to high is because of White's consistency. Up until he walked off the field with the injury in Houston, he didn't skip a single snap. Assuming that Rallis doesn't drastically change the scheme, White will likely see the field an equal amount. It's just yet to be determined whether they bring back Woods and/or Barnes or if they'll add a new face to the room.

Notable past free agent inside linebacker signings: White (2023); De'Vondre Campbell (2020); Jordan Hicks (2019); Josh Bynes (2017); Karlos Dansby (2017); LaMarr Woodley (2015); Larry Foote (2014); Dansby (2013); Paris Lenon (2010); Seth Joyner (1994).

A look at some of the top off-ball linebackers across the NFL who are scheduled to become free agents in mid-March