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Monti Ossenfort Knows For Which Type He's Seeking

The average age of Cardinals' nine free agency additions is 27

Among the Cardinals' free-agent signings this offseason (clockwise from top left): LB Marck Wilson Sr., T Jonah Williams, WR Chris Moore, DL Justin Jones, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, and DL Bilal Nichols.
Among the Cardinals' free-agent signings this offseason (clockwise from top left): LB Marck Wilson Sr., T Jonah Williams, WR Chris Moore, DL Justin Jones, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, and DL Bilal Nichols.

When it comes to finding that special someone, we all have a type. Some people go for height. Some people go for looks. Some people need a funny personality.

No, this isn't a dating site. This is But for Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort, free agency proved he also has a type for players he wanted to add to the roster.

Young and healthy.

"I think any time that we can add someone, younger players in that age frame with durability being a part of it," Ossenfort said. "One of the biggest abilities is durability, being able to be out there every week. I think being able to check those boxes is certainly positive."

The Cardinals have signed nine players through free agency and the common trend has been their age and health. The average age is 27 years old and multiple players have spent every Sunday on the gridiron.

Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols, 28, hasn't missed a game in four seasons. It's something he wears as a badge of honor.

"I take great pride in that, and I've been blessed enough to play with some great players over the course of my career," Nichols said. "Those guys were tough. When I got in the league, I understood that if you want to be a dude in this league and you want to earn the respect of your teammates, your coaches, the organization, you need to be a dude that's going to be there every day."

Football is a physical sport and the Cardinals learned firsthand last season just how quickly the roster can change once injuries become a factor. Thirty-two players missed a combined 139 games and 16 ended their season on injured reserve.

The defensive side of the ball had a different starting lineup in every game of the 2023 season with 77 different players seeing action for the Cardinals.

The starting defensive line in Week 1 consisted of L.J. Collier, Carlos Watkins, and Jonathan Ledbetter. By Week 18, Roy Lopez, Naquan Jones, and Phil Hoskins, three players that weren't on the roster prior to the regular season, were the Cardinals lineman.

Ossenfort addressed that blemish on the Cardinals season by adding players that have had a history of being healthy. On the offensive line, signing players like Evan Brown and Jonah Williams and re-signing Elijah Wilkinson and Trystan Colon proves that versatility was another important trait to Ossenfort.

"It increases the possibilities," Ossenfort said. "No matter what position a player plays, the more they can do, the more value that they bring to the roster. I think it's a good problem to have and we'll see once everybody gets out on the grass, we'll see where everybody fits best."

This free agency cycle answered a lot of questions that the Cardinals might've had entering the draft, especially on the offensive line. By adding Williams, there isn't as much of a need to draft a tackle with one of the top picks. Experts project that the Cardinals could select players on both sides of the line.

Now that we're under a month away from the draft, free agency will take somewhat of a back seat for the time being.

But whether it's through free agency or the draft, there's a certain type of player that'll fit into the locker room.

"First and foremost, it starts with the tape and how we see players fit in with our group and in our scheme," Ossenfort said. "We're excited that most, if not all of the guys that we signed fit that bill. So not only that can help our 2024 roster, but moving forward into the coming seasons is also a positive."