Despite finishing with an 11-6 record and making the playoffs for the first time since 2015, the Arizona Cardinals have a plethora of positions that need to be addressed in the offseason.
Of course, that is largely due to the fact that the Cardinals have so many upcoming 2022 free agents — 2021 Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones and running back James Conner, running back Chase Edmonds, wide receiver Christian Kirk, tight end Zach Ertz, wide receiver A.J. Green, cornerback Robert Alford and tight end Maxx Williams.
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While the team should still be able to retain a few names, there isn’t as much wiggle room for every free agent as the average fan would think. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, defensive end J.J. Watt, All-Pro safety Budda Baker and Rodney Hudson are all receiving major cap hit increases for 2022.
Nonetheless, the Cardinals should be active in free agency. Especially due to the fact owner Michael Bidwill was “disappointed” about the season result and is motivated to make the team stronger.
“We’re not going to talk about internal things,” Bidwill said on January 24. “But I’ve had lots of internal discussions that I think have been productive and will improve the team.”
So with free agency coming up in less than two months, a familiar face was connected to the Cardinals.
Writer Links Cards to Rival WR
“The Cardinals’ offense is nearly unstoppable when they have dynamic players at different receiver positions,” said Root. “A.J. Green, who many thought was washed up before this past season, had 54 catches for 848 yards in an inconsistent season. Since joining the Rams and being the second fiddle to Cooper Kupp, he has had quite the impact in recent weeks. Pairing him with DeAndre Hopkins, who is tight with Beckham, would be deadly. He offers a more versatile set of routes than Green and is certainly better. The Cardinals have a lot of areas to address this offseason, but they wouldn’t go wrong by adding Beckham.”
Beckham Jr. has uplifted not only the Rams, but himself ever since he was traded from the Cleveland Rams in 2021. He has six touchdowns in 10 games including the postseason after posting zero touchdowns in six games in Cleveland.
The Cardinals have seen a full glimpse of Beckham Jr.’s abilities in three games in 2021. Beckham has 15 receptions in three games against the Cardinals including two touchdowns as a Ram.
Beckham Jr. was prolific as they came at the wide receiver position when he was drafted by the New York Giants in 2014. Who can forget his one-handed grab on Sunday Night Football in his rookie season?
The LSU product became the fastest player in NFL history to hit 200 career receptions and 4,000 yards in 2016 and eventually signed a five-year, $85 million contract in 2018.
But an interview with ESPN, where Beckham Jr. sat next to rapper Lil Wayne criticizing not only the Giants gameplan but also Eli Manning, was met with outrage.
Five months later, Beckham Jr. was dealt to Cleveland, where again things never really panned out. He tore his ACL in 2020 and was unable to have a rapport with quarterback Baker Mayfield, which led to Beckham Jr.’s father sharing an anti-Mayfield video. The team released Beckham Jr. after being excused two practices after his father’s social media post and the Rams signed the veteran to a one-year deal.
The Rams are now one win away from the Super Bowl with Beckham Jr. and their playoff run is getting many people clamoring for the 29-year-old’s services in March.
Does Beckham Jr. Fit Make Sense?
With Kirk and Green set to enter free agency, the wide receiver group looks barren. If the team doesn’t sign either player, the Cardinals need to replace 195 targets from both receivers.
Rondale Moore is the only other receiver after Hopkins with more than 20 catches in 2021. The Cardinals need weapons for Kyler Murray and bringing in talent like Beckham Jr. could pay dividends.
The Rams salary-cap restraints make it unlikely “OBJ” will return, especially with fellow teammates Robert Woods and Van Jefferson still in the picture. According to Spotrac, Beckham Jr.’s calculated market value is $5.6 million per season, but that can easily be taken with a grain of salt.
Teams won’t overpay for players entering their year-30 season, just ask Allen Robinson who’s just 28 years of age.
But Beckham should easily have suitors, especially due to his hand-to-ball skills.
The Cardinals could also draft a wide receiver in the 2022 NFL draft. Pro Football Network’s Tyler Olson wrote on January 19 that he thinks the Cardinals should select Alabama WR Jameson Williams with the 23rd overall pick.
On paper, Beckham Jr.’s production since 2020 could look underwhelming. But a torn ACL in 2020 combined with below-average quarterback play in 2021 with Cleveland can’t be ignored.
Either way, getting Murray more talent at wide receiver should be one of general manager Steve Keim’s top priorities in 2022.