NFL Offseason Outlook: Keeping Peterson, Fitzgerald Two Offseason Priorities For Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals went .500 in 2020, going 8-8 but blowing a late chance to make the postseason after falling 20-12 at home in Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.This loss allowed the Chicago Bears to overtake them for the final Wild Card spot.

The Cards do have a star in the making in quarterback Kyler Murray, who in his second season as a starter threw 26 touchdowns with 12 picks and rushed for another 819 yards with 11 scores.

In two seasons as head coach, Kliff Kingsbury is 13-18-1. Many see the Cardinals as a team that is ready to make an impact in 2021, but they have a lot of offseason questions.

The club has 29 free agents, a couple of which are big names that may or may not return for next season.

As things stand today, the Cards have only about $9 million in cap space, so they will have to make some tough decisions with some key players.

Here’s the free agent list for the Cardinals entering the offseason:

QB Brett Hundley
RB Kenyan Drake
RB D.J. Foster
WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Trent Sherfield*
TE Dan Arnold
TE Darrell Daniels
TE Seth DeValve
RT Kelvin Beachum
RG J.R. Sweezy
LG Max Garcia
EDGE Haason Reddick
EDGE Markus Golden
EDGE Dennis Gardeck*
EDGE Isaiah Irving
DT Corey Peters
DT Domata Peko
DE Angelo Blackson
LB Tanner Vallejo
LB Zeke Turner*
CB Patrick Peterson
CB Dre Kirkpatrick
CB Johnathan Joseph
CB Kevin Peterson
S Chris Banjo
S Charles Washington
K Zane Gonzalez
K Mike Nugent
P Andy Lee

Expect the team to look to bring back Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Haason Reddick and Kelvin Beachum, four players that have been cornerstones for the franchise.

The club could use the franchise tag on Peterson or Reddick, which would mean one of those players would be back on the roster right away.

If the team doesn’t franchise Reddick, the linebacker might move on, as he is due for a raise.

RB Kenyan Drake is another player the Cardinals need to make a decision on. He led the team with 955 yards on the ground in 2020.

General manager Steve Keim and the front office have plenty of work to do with 29 players on the cusp of free agency.

Offseason Outlook: This is a critical offseason for the Cards, who have plenty of tough decisions to make about a roster that could look very different come opening day 2021. Just about every position on the roster could be impacted by free agency

It’s hard to think of this team without Peterson or Fitzgerald. Fitz will likely come back with a one-year deal and then retire after the season. Peterson isn’t as good as he used to be, but he is still a solid corner. The team certainly doesn’t want to lose him.

Look for plenty of tough decisions this offseason for the Cards, and for this team to lose a number of name players because of a lowered salary cap for 2021.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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  1. Murray proved me wrong……sort of my question all along was his long term durability he runs a lot and is not that big sure enough he got dinged up toward end of season missed playoffs. So my question of long term ability to stay healthy remains i hope Fitz comes back his character and experience is much needed for the team.

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