Money talks this time of year, and in most cases, free agents tend to land with the highest bidder.
However, there are instances when players set other parameters, and when that happens, organizations must be enticing enough to reel in their targets.
The Cardinals went 3-13 last season and are employing their third coach in three years, so it was fair to wonder if players would be reticent to join the fold. Less than two weeks into free agency, it’s obvious that isn’t the case.
Inside linebacker Jordan Hicks, cornerback Robert Alford and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs are among the top names that have signed on the dotted line with the Cardinals. The team has inked 11 free agents in all, which is among the most in the NFL.
Hicks emanated energy during his introductory press conference last week and feels like the organization is on an upward trajectory.
“I was pretty impressed with everything that was going on here,” Hicks said. “And excited. There’s a buzz around this team, and for me it was a no-brainer. This place is great for my family, and then you speak about football, and it’s going to be a fun team.”
Guard J.R. Sweezy spent five of his first seven seasons in Seattle and there was some surprise he departed. But Sweezy was honest when asked if it was tough to leave the Seahawks.
“It wasn’t,” he said. “I feel like I’m supposed to be here. I’ve gotten really good vibes about everything and I’m excited to get started.”
There were various factors involved when each free agent agreed to sign.
Suggs’ addition had to do with location, as he was excited to return to the Valley after starring at Chandler Hamilton High School and Arizona State.
Wide receiver Kevin White was intrigued by pairing up with coach Kliff Kingsbury in an offense similar to the one he starred in collegiately at West Virginia. Alford liked the idea of playing opposite close friend Patrick Peterson on defense.
No team can construct its roster entirely through free agency, but it can be a valuable resource in finding plug-and-play upgrades. The Cardinals targeted certain players in the open market and the interest was often mutual.
“This team is exciting right now,” Hicks said. “Young coach. New staff. Young team. Great defense. For me, it was really enticing to come here.”
Images of key newcomers on their first few days with the team