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 fourth position group breakdown.
Free agent primer: Tight end
Cap hit of players under contract for 2022 (via OverTheCap.com): TE Alex Willis ($965,000), TE Deon Yelder ($895,000), TE David Wells ($825,000), TE Bernhard Seikovits ($705,000)
Scheduled Free Agents: TE Zach Ertz, TE Maxx Williams, TE Darrell Daniels, TE Demetrius Harris
Analysis: With Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams – two essential pieces to the offense – entering free agency, the Cardinals' decision-makers could push to re-sign both.
Williams is one of the NFL's premier run blockers and became more involved in the passing attack this season. The tight end had an impressive 77.9 Pro Football Focus grade before suffering a season-ending injury Week 5 versus the 49ers – which led the organization to make the deal for Ertz.
Despite arriving as a midseason trade acquisition coupled with the challenge of learning a new offense, the three-time Pro Bowler excelled. Ertz finished with 574 receiving yards (third-most on the team) on 56 catches (second-most on the team) in just 11 games with the Cardinals.
Both tight ends fit well in coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense, but Ertz likely carries the larger price tag to retain. The team could also re-sign Darrell Daniels or Demetrius Harris as insurance options. If getting younger is the preference, the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft will be loaded with quality tight ends.
Notable past free agent tight end signings: Charles Clay (2019); Williams (2019); Jermaine Gresham (2015); John Carlson (2014); Jake Ballard (2013); Darren Fells (2013); Todd Heap (2011); Jeff King (2011); Freddie Jones (2002); Chris Gedney (1997).
Images of some of the top free agent tight ends scheduled to hit the open market.