A breakdown of the Arizona Cardinals’ 2019 free-agent signings.
Terrell Suggs, linebacker
The Cardinals will sign Suggs to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Here’s a closer look at the linebacker who spent the previous 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens:
2019 Free Agency | Cardinals
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What it means: The Cardinals found a veteran in the 36-year-old Suggs who can immediately establish himself as a stabilizing presence in the locker room after Arizona released veteran safety Antoine Bethea over the weekend. In Suggs, Arizona will also get a durable pass-rusher who, while he may end up on limited snap counts, has shown he’s still effective at getting to the quarterback. He had 26 sacks the last three seasons, including seven in 2018 and 11 in 2017.
What’s the risk: Suggs will turn 37 on Oct. 11, and even though he’s played all 16 games in 12 of his 16 seasons — and 15 in one and 13 in another — age will still be a concern with him this season. But the reward with Suggs is greater than the risk because of his recent production rushing the passer. However, if the Cardinals count on Suggs too much on defense, instead of relying on him to be part of the rotation, and his age finally catches up to him, then the Cardinals could see the risk sooner than the reward.
J.R. Sweezy, guard
The Cardinals will sign guard J.R. Sweezy to a two-year deal on Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the guard who spent five of the previous seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks:
What it means: The Cardinals found their replacement for Mike Iupati at left guard. Sweezy started 13 of his 15 games in 2018 at left guard and will give Arizona the final piece of its 2019 offensive line. Sweezy moved from right guard, where he played the majority of his career, to left guard before last season. He’s another veteran offensive line signing for Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, continuing a run that’s lasted most of Keim’s tenure as GM. In 2018, Sweezy allowed a career-low 19 hurries and 26 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
What’s the risk: Sweezy missed all of 2016 with a herniated disc, so his health would be a concern. When he’s healthy, Sweezy is durable. Another risk is that he turns 30 in April, so Sweezy may not be a long-term answer at left guard, leaving the Cardinals in the same situation either next year or in 2021.
Brett Hundley, quarterback
The Cardinals will sign quarterback Brett Hundley to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the quarterback who spent last season with the Seahawks:
What it means: It’s too early to tell. It’ll all depend on who else the Cardinals have at quarterback next season. If it’s Josh Rosen, then Hundley and could help be part of Rosen’s support group along with Charles Kanoff. Rosen followed Hundley as UCLA’s starter, so the two have a history. If it’s, by chance, Kyler Murray, then Hundley may fit the type of athletic quarterback that new coach Kliff Kingsbury is looking for.
What’s the risk: There’s really not much risk at all, unless Hundley needs to play at length. But that’s more because he won’t be the everyday quarterback. He’s 3-6 as a starter, he’s thrown for nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his career and has 1,853 yards while tallying a 59.5 percent completion rate. While he’s been in the NFL since the Packers drafted him in the fifth round in 2015, Hundley doesn’t have much game experience, which could be a factor if the starter gets hurt.
Jordan Hicks, inside linebacker
The Cardinals will sign Hicks. Here’s a closer look at the linebacker who spent the previous four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles:
What it means: Inside linebacker quickly became a position of need for Arizona’s defense after it released Josh Bynes and reports have linked the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Deone Bucannon. So, Hicks fills a fairly large void in the Cardinals’ latest version of a 3-4. He’ll quickly be inserted into the starting lineup, likely alongside Haason Reddick, giving the Cardinals an athletic, dynamic and versatile pair of inside linebackers. Hicks also reunited Billy Davis, the Cardinals linebackers coach who was the Eagles’ defensive coordinator when Philadelphia drafted Hicks.
What’s the risk: The primary concern with Hicks is his durability. He missed nine games in 2017 with an Achilles injury and four games last season win a calf injury. As long as Hicks can stay healthy, he can the inside linebacker the Cardinals need him to be.