The Cardinals are embarking on a new era under Steve Wilks. In the ensuing months, they will identify their new starting quarterback and fill other positions of need. The first crack at re-shaping the roster will come in free agency, which begins on March 14. We’ll break down each position as it draws near.
*Free agent primer: *Cornerback
*More free agent analysis: *QB
*Cap hit of players under contract for 2018 (via OverTheCap.com): *Patrick Peterson ($14.96 million); Brandon Williams ($824,174); Jarell Carter ($480,000); Jonathan Moxey ($480,000); Ronald Zamort (unknown)
Scheduled free agents: Tramon Williams; Justin Bethel; C.J. Goodwin (exclusive rights)
Images of some of the most notable cornerbacks scheduled to hit the open market
Analysis: The Cardinals are in a familiar position heading into free agency. They have a lockdown corner in Peterson on one side and a question mark on the other. Tramon Williams was fantastic after taking over as the starter for the final 10 games, but he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Williams will be 35 next season, but played like he was a decade younger in 2017. It will be interesting to see what kind of demand there will be for his services.
If Williams returns, he would be the presumed starter, albeit as a shorter-term option because of his age. General Manager Steve Keim could also look to get younger at the position if there are players available that pique his interest.
Bethel began the season as the starter but lost his job and will be a free agent. Former third-round pick Brandon Williams has not found a role on defense during his first two seasons and will try to make a positive impression on the new coaching staff. Zamort and Goodwin could be in the mix to compete for a roster spot this offseason.
Malcolm Butler, Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, Patrick Robinson, Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are some of the biggest names scheduled to hit free agency. The Cardinals are already paying Peterson top dollar, which could make it tough for them to add another high-priced player at cornerback.
If the market for cornerbacks is too hot, the draft is another place the team could look for a solution.
Notable past free agent cornerback signings: Tramon Williams (2017); Antonio Cromartie (2014); Jerraud Powers (2013); Antoine Cason (2013); William Gay (2012); Bryant McFadden (2009); Roderick Hood (2007); Ralph Brown (2007); David Macklin (2004); Duane Starks (2002).