Will the Cards add a defensive free agent?

While the Cardinals' offense stole the headlines a year ago, it was their defense that propelled them to a first ever Super Bowl berth. Now, with the same explosive offense in place, Arizona's defense must continue to progress. Although some of the recent defections have been addressed, there are still voids to fill. Brad Wilbricht outlines where helped is needed and who might be on the way.

The Arizona Cardinals have done an excellent job of replenishing the roster during the last handful of years, both in reaction to players leaving and in preparation for certain departures. Even though DE Antonio Smith left for greener pastures with the Houston Texans, Arizona has a great deal of young talent on the defensive line. Calais Campbell, Kenny Iwebema and incoming rookie Will Davis will all have a shot at early playing time.

Although the aforementioned youngsters are available, GM Rod Gravies may decide to acquire more experience along the defensive line. Last year, the Cardinals brought on veteran DT Bryan Robinson in a move that's proved to be very beneficial. Robinson worked his way up to a starting position in 2008 due to Gabe Watson's injured knee and the continuing struggles of Alan Branch.

If Arizona is looking for another veteran to fortify the trenches there are a few options available. DT Anthony Weaver's best playing days are behind him, but similar to Robinson he would bring a wealth of wisdom to the Cardinals' looker room and could help mentor a relatively young group of defenders. Meanwhile, Dwan Edwards would pose as an excellent addition due to his high football IQ and nonstop motor.

Karlos Dansby

At linebacker, Arizona is set for now but they could be in the market for reinforcements in large part due to the uncertainty regarding Karlos Dansby. It's looking more and more apparent that the Cardinals need to prepare for life after Dansby in the middle of their linebacking corps. He's been slapped with the franchise tag two consecutive seasons and the two parties seem unable to reach a long-term deal.

In preparation for Dansby exit and because of the loss of Monty Beisel to the Kansas City Chiefs, LB Antwan Peek could be an intriguing option. Peek is a young player who could also chip in on special teams. If Arizona prefers a more experienced new addition, Jamie Winborn would give them exactly that. Winborn's experience in the 3-4 defense would help the Cardinals continue to incorporate the odd-man front.

Arizona signed former Pittsburgh Steelers CB Bryant McFadden earlier this offseason but could be in the market another secondary member. Roderick Hood has been a major contributor for the Cardinals but surprisingly was released. With a starting tandem most likely consisting of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and McFadden, more reinforcements may be needed.

CB Greg Toler was selected by Arizona in the fourth round of the draft, but may be a year away from contributing. If that's the case, the Cardinals will be relying heavily on journeyman Ralph Brown for depth. If Graves and company feel they need more firepower CB Mike McKenzie is a possibility. McKenzie has a long history with winning teams and would provide versatility in the secondary. CB Fakhir Brown is also still on the market and might get a look from the Arizona front office.

Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com
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