Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
New Signings so Far:
Rashard Mendenhall, RB on one-year deal
Drew Stanton, QB on three-year deal
Yeremiah Bell, S on one-year deal
Antoine Cason, CB to one-year contract
Jerraud Powers, CB to a three-year deal
Jasper Brinkley, MLB on a two-year deal
Matt Shaughnessy, DE on a one-year contract
Lorenzo Alexander, LB for three years
The Arizona Cardinals have begun their latest rebuilding effort by acquiring eight low-key free agents. Of course, anything the Cardinals do this offseason will be judged by their decision at quarterback.
That raises the question of whether ex-Indianapolis Colts backup Drew Stanton can end Arizona's woes at the position. If he can't, it's unlikely the Cardinals will be any better anytime soon.
Adding a workhorse runner like Rashard Mendenhall will help whoever is under center this season. He knows new head coach Bruce Arians' schemes well. If Mendenhall stays healthy and solves his fumbling problems, he should be a big part of the offense.
The Cardinals have made some smart additions to their defense. The best is cornerback Jerraud Powers, another former Colt Arians knows. He is an underrated cover man, as is Antoine Cason. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is an aggressive thumper in the middle.
However, defensive end Matt Shaughnessy may be the Cardinals' best addition. He is versatile enough to dominate on the edge, or cause havoc inside.
Shaughnessy gives Arians and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles plenty of options regarding scheme flexibility. Finally, Lorenzo Alexander instantly upgrades the special teams. He is a smart replacement for the departed Quentin Groves.
The Cardinals have played it safe, opting for short-term investments. Four of their newcomers are only contracted for a year.
They have added some interesting pieces to an already capable defense. Although Mendenhall is a risk, the upside of his signing is significant.
As usual, though, there is still that question at quarterback.