Buy New or Used to Replace Arrington, Smith?

The Arizona Cardinals have already parted ways with two key contributors from last season. J.J. Arrington (Denver Broncos) and Antonio Smith (Houston Texans) have both found homes in new locations. What are the Cardinals going to miss about these two? How are they going to replace two valuable members of a Super Bowl squad? looks deeper.

J.J. Arrington started off sluggish in the preseason, but became a vital aspect of the offense late in the year. His kick returns provided a much needed boost to the Cardinals' special teams unit. Now that he has left for the Broncos, it is important for the team to find a worthy replacement.

Arrington was the home run threat that Tim Hightower and Edgerrin James could not be. His speed and agility were two components that complemented Hightower and James nicely. As the Cardinals search for a new running back, they will no doubt be looking for someone who can provide the speed necessary to keep defenses on their toes.

Aaron Stecker

The Cardinals will have two options in finding a replacement running back, via the draft or through free agency. The Cardinals low first round draft pick means that their best option may be through free agency. One potential replacement is Aaron Stecker from the New Orleans Saints, who has never been a feature back, but his consistency and experience would provide some stability in the Arizona backfield. Even at the ripe old age of 33, he still has a decent amount of speed.

Stecker would only require a short term contract and could be a nice stop gap until a later round draft pick could develop.

Another option for the Cardinals could be Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno ( Read more ). If he is still available, the Cardinals would be wise to scoop up another top tier rookie running back. Moreno may not have the top end speed, but his vision and instincts have brought comparisons to Cadillac Williams.

On the other side of the ball, Antonio Smith was a catalyst for the Cardinals defense last season and replacing him will not be an easy task. His 3.5 sacks do not show the true effect he had on the defense. As a Cardinal since 2005, it will be difficult to see Smith wearing another team's jersey. His speed rushing on the outside often forced the line to spread out, giving Adrian Wilson a seam up the middle.

Julius Peppers

In order to properly replace Smith, the Cardinals will need to search for a good speed rusher. Julius Peppers has been rumored to be seeking a trade, but a Peppers to the Cardinals scenario seems highly unlikely. A more plausible option would be using a draft pick to fill the void. Smith was a fifth round pick and in this year's draft the Cardinals have a good chance of repeating that success.

A good candidate to replace Smith is DE/OLB Cody Brown from Connecticut. Brown has a high chance of still being on the board as late as the third round. If the Cardinals can grab Brown that late, he would be a steal. His flexibility to play multiple positions would be a valuable asset for the Cardinals defense. Most likely his immediate contribution would be on special teams. If Brown can adjust to the speed of the game, he may be able to replace Smith sooner than expected.

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