Cardinals Should Pursue Rams Free Agent Cornerback, Says Analyst

Darious Williams

Getty Images DeAndre Hopkins is being defended by CB Darious Williams in 2021.

The Arizona Cardinals will be facing immense pressure from the fanbase to become an even bigger winner in 2022.

The franchise has made an upswing in terms of wins during coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray’s tenures — Five in 2019, nine in 2020 and 11 in 2021.

But context matters. While the Cardinals reached their first postseason appearance since 2015, the team started the season 7-0 and had higher aspirations than finishing 11-6 and losing in the Wild Card round.

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Moves need to be made in the offseason. The Cardinals have a variety of positions that need to be addressed, but there’s one position that stands out from the rest.

The cornerback position.

Arizona had shown weakness and depth issues at the cornerback position in the backend of the 2021 season. Starting cornerback Robert Alford was placed on Injured Reserve on December 18 and rookie Marco Wilson missed the final three regular-season games due to injury and had an up-and-down season.

Alford is an impending 2022 free agent which leaves Byron Murphy, Antonio Hamilton, Wilson and Jace Whittaker at defensive back.

General manager Steve Keim should make it a priority to upgrade the cornerback group. And what better way to do that than prying a division rival’s defensive back?

Analyst Urges Cards Add Familiar CB

Cardinals Top CB Targets in Free Agency#NFL #Arizona #Cardinals The Arizona Cardinals started the season early, but their late-season swoon bled into the playoffs. The Rams handled the Cardinals masterfully in the WildCard round, but overall Kyler Murray and Co. had a solid season. Now the team needs to address some issues at CB.2022-01-27T03:50:00Z

On the January 3 episode of Heavy’s I’m Just Saying with Brian Mazique, the debate on the Cardinals oriented on who the Cardinals should target at the cornerback position in free agency.

Heavy on 49ers and Rams writer Lorenzo Reyna has a strong belief that the Cardinals should sign Rams CB Darious Williams.

“I’m going to stay in the NFC West and go with the guy who was opposite of Jalen Ramsey in Darious Williams,” said Reyna. “This guy goes up against the best of the best in practice with Cooper Kupp. If you’re the Cardinals, why wouldn’t you add someone who has that kind of experience with what they like to run and how they tick. It wasn’t that long ago that he led the Rams in picks, even over Ramsey. Unfortunately this year he has battled some injuries and COVID issues. I think there’s a strong possibility that he could walk in free agency.”

The Rams claimed undrafted Williams after the Ravens cut him during his rookie season. He’s started 23 games in the last two games and is ranked 20th among cornerbacks in that span according to Pro Football Focus. He’s also forced 21 incompletions which is the 10th most in the NFL.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, there are two concerning parts with Williams. The first part is that All-Pro Jalen Ramsey takes the number one receiver and has protected Williams into a No. 2 role at cornerback. The second part is Williams’ projected market value of $14 million annual salary, per Spotrac. PFF projects Williams similarly at $13 million per season.

Restructuring and letting players leave in free agency is always in play. But the Cardinals are still projected to have just $9.8 million in cap space.

The Rams salary-cap restraints could make it unlikely Williams returns.

Nonetheless, Williams as a player is an intriguing player to watch in free agency. PFF says Williams has “elite quickness, movement skills and the ability to find and break up the football once it’s in the air.”

His quickness was shown on a breakup on a pass intended for Buccaneers’ tight end Rob Gronkowski in the Divisional Round.

The Cardinals have already been suggested to add another Rams impending free agent in Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams are just one win away from the Super Bowl and their playoff run is getting many pundits clamoring for any of their contributors.

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