The Arizona Cardinals are, bluntly, among the least talented football teams in the NFL. They’re bad almost across the board, and it’s going to take a significant rebuilding effort to turn them back into one of the NFL’s best teams.
There are still players of genuine interest for the Falcons among their free agent class of 2019. You wouldn’t sign up for 44-year-old Phil Dawson at kicker, but you might take a shot at Mike Iupati, a once-excellent guard who is settled in as an average starting option at 32 years old. You’re not going to take a genuine shot at Larry Fitzgerald, who is still useful but aging and expensive, but you might see what you can squeeze out of a flier on Markus Golden, the pass rusher who thus far has been a largely disappointing former second round pick. And so on.
For the Falcons, there are a handful of options worth considering. The first is Iupati, who would give the Falcons competition at guard if they’re intent on avoiding using draft assets, and would allow for a best-man-wins competition with him, Wes Schweitzer, Brandon Fusco and Sean Harlow. That’s hardly inspiring, but it’s something.
The second option is to take a swing at a pass rusher. Benson Mayowa is exactly the kind of dirt cheap option the Falcons would consider as their last defensive end, while Golden is that option with a little more upside if you can squeeze out some of the production that made him an attractive draft prospect in the first place. They’re not solutions for this team’s pass rushing woes, but if they clear the deck at defensive end, they could be options to help out in the rotation.
But the most appealing option might be Deone Bucannon. Hyped up as a hybrid linebacker/safety coming into the draft, Bucannon hasn’t come close to living up to his considerable promise but remains a gifted athlete and a versatile player. If the Falcons move on from Kemal Ishmael and Bruce Carter at linebacker and transition Damontae Kazee to more of a cornerback role to get him on the field more often in 2019, Buccannon would be an interesting super reserve at a pair of positions, one who shouldn’t be hugely expensive because of his so-so career to this point. A group of linebackers featuring Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun, Bucannon and Duke Riley (I’m not sure they’re going to re-sign De’Vondre Campbell just yet) could be fun if they played up to their potential.
Personally, I’d go Bucannon or Golden. How about you?