The Arizona Cardinals ended their offseason program on June 8. Here's a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals: The most compelling offseason goal was to get past last season's underwhelming and underperforming 7-8-1 record. For the most part, Arizona did that by ridding itself of some young players who didn't fit in the locker room and replacing them with veterans with cache and experience who can mentor the team's youth. Another goal was to clear up some questions at specific positions, but that wasn't accomplished. There's still not a definitive cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson as Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams continue to duke it out over that job. And there Cardinals' wide receiving corps isn't set as a deep room of potential options wait to compete in training camp for the last two or three wide receiver spots on the roster. Offseason grade:B+
Move I liked: I thought signing kicker Phil Dawson was a game-changer for the Cardinals, who had three losses last season that could be attributed to the kicking game. By bringing in Dawson, in theory, Arizona helped itself win those close games. He has missed just three field goals in each of the last two seasons. Dawson brings confidence to a unit that was without last year with Chandler Catanzaro. Dawson could be the difference between a double-digit win season with a trip to the playoffs and another January on the couch.
Move I didn't like: First, Andre Ellington was a receiver. Then he was a running back again. It seems Ellington is beginning to fall into a no-man's land with the Cardinals, which can end up being an unfortunate situation for the fifth-year player. Ellington is a dynamic piece of the Cardinals' offense. He's quick and has an extra gear off the edge that can catch teams by surprise after they get used to David Johnson for two or three quarters a game. Ellington can't seem to fit into a deep receiving room and will be sitting behind Johnson in the running backs room. On paper, there isn't room for him but he's the type of player the Cardinals almost need to have on their roster because of his big-play ability.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Who will be the Cardinals' cornerback opposite Peterson? It's down to either Bethel or Williams, but neither were able to pull away from the other during OTAs and minicamp because of the rules against playing man-press coverage in practice. And since that's the style the Cardinals' cornerbacks play, neither player was able to show if they were fluent in it during the offseason, instead they had to show their expertise in off-man coverage. Once camp commences and the players can wear pads, then the real competition between the two will begin and the Cardinals will be able to differentiate between who their starting cornerback will be and his back up.
Salary-cap space: $13,517,814 (source: Overthecap.com)
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: WR Carlton Agudosi, DT Collin Bevins, C Lucas Crowley, S Ironhead Gallon, S Gump Hayes, WR Krishawn Hogan, OLB Tre'Von Johnson, QB Trevor Knight, CB Ryan Lewis, T Jonathan McLaughlin, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, CB Sojourn Shelton, RB James Summers, DT Pasoni Tasini, TE Steven Wroblewski.
Unrestricted free agents signed: K Phil Dawson, LB Karlos Dansby, LB Jarvis Johnson, S Antoine Bethea, QB Blaine Gabbert, P Richie Leone, WR Aaron Dobson, LB Alex Bazzie, CB Daniel Gray, WR Chris Hubert.
Restricted free agents signed: None.
Players acquired via trade: None.