TEMPE, Ariz. -- Leading up to the start of free agency on March 9, we’ll evaluate the situation at every position for the Arizona Cardinals. We’ll look at who will return to Arizona in 2017, who’s set to hit the open market, what the Cardinals need at each position, and we'll throw out a few potential options to fill those open roster spots.
Position: Special teams
Pending free agents: K Chandler Catanzaro (restricted)
What’s needed: It won’t be a surprise if the Cardinals enter next season with an entirely new special teams unit. Neither Wile nor Brewer were impressive enough to make one think they are locks to return in 2017, despite both being under contract -- especially with how many issues Arizona had on special teams last year. While Wile wasn’t culpable, Brewer’s low stance allowed Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner to hurdle him and block a field-goal attempt in the second quarter of a Week 7 matchup, a field goal that would’ve been the difference had Catanzaro made it.
Catanzaro’s future in Arizona could largely be up to him.
It’s likely Arizona will bring in another kicker, probably through free agency, to provide competition for Catanzaro. Essentially, Catanzaro could be kicking for his job during OTAs, minicamp and most of training camp. And that could be a good thing for the fourth-year kicker. Catanzaro has proven during his young career that he’s capable of being a reliable kicker, making game-winning kicks under pressure during his first two seasons. Last year, however, the mental side of Catanzaro’s game appeared to slip, causing him technique issues which led to misses.
Having someone fighting for his job could ignite a focus in Catanzaro that could help him keep his job.