During the official Super Bowl handoff ceremony last month, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill expressed his Super Bowl aspirations for the 2022 season. Cardinals GM Steve Keim must fill several holes on the roster this offseason to make that happen. With the free agency period beginning on March 16, on the first day of the new league year – here is the second position group breakdown.
Free agent primer: Safety
Other free-agent primers: WR
Cap hit of players under contract for 2022 (via OverTheCap.com): S Budda Baker ($14.7 million), S Jalen Thompson ($2.6 million), S Deionte Thompson ($1.05 million), S James Wiggins ($825,000), S Javon Hagan ($705,000).
Scheduled free agents: S Chris Banjo, S Charles Washington.
Analysis: The Cardinals arguably have the best safety tandem in the NFL. Budda Baker turned in another Pro Bowl season, his fourth selection in five seasons. Jalen Thompson had a breakout junior year, leading the defense in total tackles (121) after injuries limited him to five games in 2020.
Deionte Thompson had just 71 snaps on defense but is a nice depth piece. Chris Banjo, who quarterbacked the Cardinals' 2021 play of the year in Week 17 versus the Cowboys, made his mark on special teams. The same goes for Charles Washington. Both had a limited amount of snaps on defense.
Depending on what the Cardinals think of 2021 rookie James Wiggins, Banjo and Washington could re-sign for lower-end deals to compete for a spot. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons can also play safety with his versatile skillset.
The Cardinals likely won't be very active at this position in free agency.
Notable past free agent safety signings: Tre Boston (2018); Antoine Bethea (2017); Tyvon Branch (2016); Yeremiah Bell (2013); James Sanders (2012); Hamza Abdullah (2009); Dexter Jackson (2003); Matt Darby (1996); Andre Waters (1994); Mike Zordich (1989).
Images of some of the top free agent safeties scheduled to hit the open market.