The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Cardinals Free Agency Grades: Day 1

Each day this week, we'll recap the Cardinals big decisions for that day. We'll use a highly unique system where we assign a letter grade for each free agent signed, a completely unique way of evaluating free agency.

We'll call this Cardinals Free Agency Grades.

Markus Golden, 2 years/$9 million

  • The Cardinals struck early with Golden, bringing him back on an extremely affordable two year deal. The rest of the day would see top pass rushers (Judon, Dupree, Barrett, etc) sign for tens of millions of dollars of guaranteed money. The Cardinals re-signed Golden for significantly less but he's not a significantly less player. While Golden has struggled with consistency rushing the QB, he is a hard working, high motor, high character guy that pencils in well as a starter opposite Chandler Jones.
  • Grade: A+

Andy Lee, 1 year/undisclosed

  • One of the bigger under-the-radar stories of the Cardinals offseason was the potential upheaval on special teams. Their core special teamers (Gardeck, Vallejo, Turner) were all free agents as were specialists at punter and kicker. The Cardinals placed tender offers on Dennis Gardeck and Ezekiel Turner almost certainly ensuring their return and also inked Andy Lee to another year. Lee's return prevents the Cardinals punter from being another unknown and that alone is worth it.
  • Grade: A-

Missing on Corey Linsley

  • The move that generated the biggest reaction was one the Cardinals did not make on Day 1. Steve Keim could not legal tamper his way to a new Center in Linsley who became the highest paid Center in the NFL with his new Chargers pact. Linsley would've been a massive upgrade at the position, the nerve center of the offense, and undoubtedly helped Kyler Murray while also helping both starting guards. But, with so many positions still in need of upgrades, he would've compromised their ability to get better elsewhere. Its a tradeoff that likely would've been worth making but one the Cardinals can still overcome if they land Patriots center David Andrews.
  • Grade: C-

Overall Day 1 Grade: B+

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