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Free Agency Primer 2015: Cornerbacks

With Cromartie a potential departure, Cards must look again to add depth



The Cardinals are busy surveying the free agent landscape, hoping to add more key pieces to a core which has won 21 games over the past two seasons. Free agency begins on March 10, and we'll break down the team's needs at each position leading up to the signing period.

More free agent analysis: QB I RB I WR I TE I OL I ST I DL I LB

Free agent primer: Cornerbacks

Cap numbers of players under contract for 2015: Patrick Peterson ($14.79 million); Jerraud Powers ($5.35 million); Justin Bethel ($688,556); Rashad Carmichael ($660,000); Jimmy Legree ($435,000); Damond Smith ($435,000); Ross Weaver ($435,000); Eddie Whitley ($435,000); Darren Woodard ($435,000)

Scheduled free agents: Antonio Cromartie

Need: Medium

Images of notable cornerbacks scheduled to hit the free agent market

Analysis: The Cardinals had one of the better outside cornerback duos in the NFL last year. Patrick Peterson is locked up for a long time, but Antonio Cromartie is free to test the waters, and the prevailing feeling is he will go back to New York rather than stay with the Cardinals. If that happens, the team could be in the market for a replacement. Jerraud Powers can move back outside, the position he played in 2013, and Tyrann Mathieu can man the slot, but it would leave the team thin if an injury hit. Justin Bethel may get a bigger opportunity to showcase his skills, although he's played sparingly at cornerback the past couple seasons.

General Manager Steve Keim faced a similar situation last year, when he had Peterson, Powers, Mathieu and Bethel under contract and added Cromartie on a cheap one-year deal after the big free agent signings shook out. The top of the market includes players like Darrelle Revis, and Byron Maxwell, but with so much money owed to Peterson, Keim may choose to target a more inexpensive option. The Cardinals could use another cornerback, but it remains to be seen whether the spot will be filled in free agency or the draft.

Notable past free agent CB signings by the Cardinals: Cromartie (2014); Powers (2013); Antoine Cason (2013); William Gay (2012); Bryant McFadden (2009); Roderick Hood (2007); Ralph Brown (2007); David Macklin (2004); Duane Starks (2002).


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