Cardinals free agent preview: Wide receiver needs


As the Cardinals head into free agency, which is less than a month away, they will be looking for several ways to upgrade the roster. One of the areas that will definitely be a focal point will be at wide receiver. The Cardinals have two very good starters with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. After that things get a little sticky. Andre Roberts is a free agent and there are doubts about whether he will be back. The rest of the wide receivers on the roster haven’t seen the field a whole lot.

The timing is good for the Cardinals to add some depth and experience to their wide receiver core. This year’s free agent wide receiver class is loaded. There is major talent at the top, guys like Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, and Anquan Boldin. There are veteran values to be had, names like Santana Moss, Kenny Britt, and James Jones. Take a good look at the names I just listed.

The Cardinals will probably not look at any of them.

Unless one of those players is available at a very discounted price, the Cardinals are not expected to have the cap room to splurge on a position like wide receiver. They have more pressing needs and there are a lot of wide receivers in the draft. The Cardinals could use two kinds of wide receivers to create a more balanced offensive attack. A good, quick slot receiver and a speed guy to take the top off the defense. They have a couple of young guys that they hope will develop, like Brittan Golden and Teddy Williams, but neither player is a sure thing.

Here are a couple of players that could fit the Cardinals needs.

Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders has proven that he can provide big play ability over the last couple of seasons with the Steelers. It is being reported that the Steelers are expected to let him walk as an unrestricted free agent. This could mean that he is looking for a bigger payday than the Steelers are willing to give, but if the price is right, the Cardinals could use an explosive player like Sanders. With all of the other big names out there, Sanders may become an affordable option. He is likely the high end of potential targets for the Cardinals.

Golden Tate/Doug Baldwin

The Seattle Seahawks are going to have to make some tough decisions following their Super Bowl victory. One of those will be whether or not to resign Tate and/or Baldwin. It’s doubtful that they could resign both. These players would both fill a need for the Cardinals and it would be a bonus to steal one of them away from their division rival.

Dexter McCluster/Jacoby Ford

McCluster and Ford are the kind of exciting play makers that can create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. Neither have completely lived up to expectations coming out of college but McCluster is coming off a good season with the Chiefs. Both are small and electric once they have the ball in their hands. They can also be called upon to return kicks since Patrick Peterson has become too valuable to risk injury returning kicks anymore. Ford has had a rough time staying healthy so he could be a low risk/high reward type that is available on the cheap.

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