Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

Free Agent Primer 2024: Special Teams

Two-thirds of Cardinals consistent specialists set to hit market


After finishing his first season as a head coach with a 4-13 record, Jonathan Gannon said that while he was pleased with the teams’ fight, it simply wasn’t good enough. Now that those in the locker room and throughout the league have an idea how a Gannon-Monti Ossenfort regime operates, they'll look to build a playoff contender through free agency and the draft. The new league year begins on March 13, and with that comes free agency. Here's the fifth of 11 position breakdowns.

Free Agent primer schedule: ST Feb. 24; WR Feb. 26; CB March 4; RB March 5; S March 6; TE March 7, OLB March 8

Other free agent primers: DL, OL, QB, ILB

Cap hit of players under contract for 2024 (via K Matt Prater ($4,750,000), LS Matt Hembrough ($797,333)

Scheduled free agents: LS Aaron Brewer, P Blake Gillikin, KR/PR Greg Dortch (ERFA)

Need: High

Analysis: The Cardinals were very fortunate to have one of the league's most consistent special teams unit. Veteran kicker Matt Prater continued to make history, breaking the record for most 55-yard-plus field goals in a season and nailing career field goal No. 400 in the season finale.

History continued with punter Blake Gillikin. Signed midway through the season, Gillikin finished the year as the Cardinals franchise record holder for a season's punting average at 50.6 yards. He took to social media following the season to express his appreciation for the organization and "can't wait for the future, whether that's in Arizona or elsewhere."

Returner Greg Dortch is an exclusive free agent, which means if the Cardinals want to re-sign the speedster, he'll remain in the Valley.

Matt Hembrough is a name that some may remember from training camp as the rookie long snapper out of Oklahoma State, but he spent the season on IR. Teams don't normally hold a roster spot for two long snappers, and with Aaron Brewer slated to hit the market, it'll be intriguing to see who will be snapping to the specialists.

Notable past free agent special teams signings: K Prater (2021); K Phil Dawson (2017); P Andy Lee (2017); Brewer (2016); K Chandler Catanzaro (2014); P Drew Butler (2014); P Dave Zastudil (2011); K Jay Feely (2010); K Mike Nugent (2009); LS Mike Leach (2009); P Ben Graham (2008); P Dirk Johnson (2008); K Neil Rackers (2003); LS Nathan Hodel (2001); K Cary Blanchard (2000); K Chris Jacke (1998); P Scott Player (1998); K Joe Nedney (1997); LS Trey Junkin (1996); P Jeff Feagles (1994).

A look at some of the top specialists across the NFL who are scheduled to become free agents in mid-March