Cards Study Offensive Options in Free Agency

The Cardinals were a late entry into the free-agent pool, but GM Rod Graves is still determined to make a splash. Arizona's off-season plans are on hold until Larry Fitzgerald's deal is restructured, but the team plans to add some offensive firepower sometime before the draft. Brad Wilbricht breaks down the top options available.

Wide Receiver Analysis

With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have the luxury of lining up two of the best young receivers in the game. However, depth is becoming a problem with Bryant Johnson and Jurheme Urban no longer under contract. Sean Morey and Steve Breaston are currently the primary backups, leaving the team vulnerable. GM Rod Graves will look for help in the draft, but could also be tempted by a more seasoned target.

Wide Receiver Targets

--Drew Carter, Carolina Panthers: Carter is a tall receiver who excels against smaller cornerbacks. His long arms and leaping ability allow him to thrive in jump-ball situations. Carter possesses rare speed for a player of his size. He's improved each season in Carolina and could be poised for a breakout year. He would provide the Cardinals with an additional downfield threat.

--Justin McCareins, New York Jets: McCareins features good size and is physical off the line of scrimmage. His deceptive speed makes him an excellent vertical target. He can navigate through traffic and has a knack for making spectacular catches. McCareins is fearless over the middle and would provide the Cardinals with a solid third option. His production has declined in recent years, but could be revived with a new team.


RB LaBrandon Toefield
Brian Bahr/Getty

Running Back Analysis

The Cardinals would prefer to secure a young running back in the draft, but could use free agency as a contingency plan. Edgerrin James is beginning to wear down and top backup Marcel Shipp is unlikely to become a full-time starter. Third-string RB J.J. Arrington has played his way out of the rotation, leaving the team with little long-term security.

Running Back Targets

--Derrick Ward, New York Giants: Ward demonstrated his playmaking ability during an injury-shortened season in 2007. He plays bigger than his size (5'11", 228 pounds) and has adequate speed for a power back. Ward is predominately a one-cut runner but can make defenders miss beyond the line of scrimmage. He possesses good vision and would be an excellent addition.

--LaBrandon Toefield, Jacksonville Jaguars: Toefield is a powerful runner who excels between the tackles. He has excellent patience and allows his offensive line to execute its blocking scheme. Toefield has sufficient hands and is a reliable target out of the backfield. He's a determined blocker and capable of picking up blitzes. Toefield also has experience returning kicks and could contribute on special teams.


OL Rex Hadnot
Al Messerschmidt/Getty

Offensive Line Analysis

The Cardinals recently parted ways with Keydrick Vincent and Oliver Ross, leaving the line with major holes to fill. Arizona has a solid core of players to build around but must add both young and experienced players to the depth chart. While the Cardinals will be focused on other areas of need in the draft, the concerns along the offensive line could be solved through free agency.

Offensive Line Targets

--George Foster, Detroit Lions: Foster was a first-round pick in 2003, but has failed to live up to those expectations. He possesses excellent size (6'5", 338 pounds) and has surprising athleticism for a player of his stature. Foster utilizes his long arms and wingspan to shield off oncoming defenders. He has good agility and can pull and block efficiently. If matched with offensive line coach Russ Grimm, Foster could develop into a full-time starter at tackle.

--Rex Hadnot, Miami Dolphins: Hadnot is a versatile lineman with experience playing center and guard. He boasts good footwork and uses his hands effectively. Although he isn't physically imposing, he compensates with outstanding energy. His awareness and instincts allow him to successfully react to blitzes and stunts. Hadnot's versatility would fill multiple voids along the Cardinals interior line.


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