Looking Ahead: Arizona Cardinals 2026 Roster

kerouac9

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The Cards have 58 players under contract for the 2024 season. This is good; last offseason GM Monti Ossenfort didn't have enough players to fill his roster before free agency even if you added in walking-dead players like WR DeAndre Hopkins. This year the Cards could have a lively spring practice while drafting all the players with disclosed and undisclosed injuries they like.

You don't have to scratch very deep in the 2024 roster before getting to the 2023 draft class (Paris Johnson, Jr has the seventh-highest cap number on the team) or sub-replacement level warm bodies (only 23 players have a cap number greater than the $1.05 million of Naquan Jones, Toney Jones, Roy Lopez, Andre Chachere, Michael Carter, Phil Hoskins, and Jeff Smith). This situation isn't unusual -- most teams have a core of players that make a lot of money and a constellation of draft picks and minimum salary veterans surrounding them. The relative paucity of core talent of this roster really sets the Cards apart from the vast majority of the NFL.

Let's look ahead to 2026 -- when the Cards currently have Kyler Murray, Jalen Thompson, Elijah Higgins, and their 2023 draft class under contract. For comparison's sake, the Bengals have QB Joe Burrow, OT Orlando Brown, and LB Logan Wilson under contract, likely to be joined by Ja'Marr Chase in the next few weeks or months. San Francisco has Trent Williams, Fred Warner, Javon Hargrave, Nick Bosa, Mitch Wishnowsky, and Jake Brendel under contract, along with voided years for Deebo Samuel, Arik Armstead, George Kittle, Charvarious Ward, Christian McCaffery, and others. It'll all be worth it for them if they win the Super Bowl in the next two years.

One imagines that two or three members of the Cards' 2024 free agency class are likely going to join Kyler, Thompson, Higgins, most of the 2023 draft class, and much of the 2024 draft class. Here are the players on the roster today I expect to still be hanging around two years out (current FA year):

Krys Barnes (2024)
Greg Dortch (ERFA 2024)
Blake Gillikin (2024)
Kyzir White (2025)

Brutal. Two off-ball linebackers, a fourth wide receiver, and a punter. Salvation probably isn't coming through free agency. Monti is going to have to draft difference-makers at high-impact positions, and a lot of them.
 

ASUCHRIS

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Many of us were appalled that there was seemingly no effort to add talent for the future last year outside of the draft. FA/trade are all potential avenues for a team with a lot of holes and future cap space. We punted on the whole season, and even worse, didn't develop many of the young guys that were expected to take the next step. Players like Marco Wilson/Cam Thomas/Myjai Sanders were either non-existent or cut.

There is a lot of work to be done to put together a real NFL contender here.
 

Mulli

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Many of us were appalled that there was seemingly no effort to add talent for the future last year outside of the draft. FA/trade are all potential avenues for a team with a lot of holes and future cap space. We punted on the whole season, and even worse, didn't develop many of the young guys that were expected to take the next step. Players like Marco Wilson/Cam Thomas/Myjai Sanders were either non-existent or cut.

There is a lot of work to be done to put together a real NFL contender here.
More excellent Keim picks. :) Don't @ me.
 

RON_IN_OC

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I would be floored to see Dortch on the Cards in 2026...heck, I believe he may not be around in 2924. The team is going to do everything they can to bring in taller and bigger WRs, IMO.
 

MadCardDisease

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I think we should be more worried about 2024 than 2026. Not many teams have players signed through 2026 especially seeing as FA hasn't opened yet this up coming off season.

The Rams have an aging Cupp and Stafford as their vets signed through 2026.

The Chiefs have Mahomes and Jawaan Taylor as key vets signed through 2026.

The Vikings have Brian O'Neill and TJ Hockenson signed through 2026.

The Lions have Ragnow as the lone vet signed through 2026.

The Texans have Tunsil, Howard and Mason as their vets signed through 2026.
 

Mulli

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I think we should be more worried about 2024 than 2026. Not many teams have players signed through 2026 especially seeing as FA hasn't opened yet this up coming off season.

The Rams have an aging Cupp and Stafford as their vets signed through 2026.

The Chiefs have Mahomes and Jawaan Taylor as key vets signed through 2026.

The Vikings have Brian O'Neill and TJ Hockenson signed through 2026.

The Lions have Ragnow as the lone vet signed through 2026.

The Texans have Tunsil, Howard and Mason as their vets signed through 2026.
I had to google Brian O'Niell. Carry on.
 
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kerouac9

kerouac9

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I think we should be more worried about 2024 than 2026. Not many teams have players signed through 2026 especially seeing as FA hasn't opened yet this up coming off season.

The Rams have an aging Cupp and Stafford as their vets signed through 2026.

The Chiefs have Mahomes and Jawaan Taylor as key vets signed through 2026.

The Vikings have Brian O'Neill and TJ Hockenson signed through 2026.

The Lions have Ragnow as the lone vet signed through 2026.

The Texans have Tunsil, Howard and Mason as their vets signed through 2026.
The Rams just re-did their roster, reset their cap, and let go of a bunch of their non-core players.

The Chiefs are in their Super Bowl window right now, as you can see from their being in the Super Bowl.

I don't know why we'd want to follow the Vikings example. They went 7-10 last season in the midst of a roster reset.

The Lions have a cap reckoning in 2025 with Goff, Decker, Sewell (if they decline his fifth-year option), and St. Brown reaching free agency. I expect to see at least a couple of those guys get extended between now and then -- don't you?

Houston just came off a three-year journey in the wilderness. They have more cap space than us in 2024 and $118 million with 36 players under contract in 2025. I think they'll be really challenged to win the division next year. But their core of talent is young and under contract through 2026.
 
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kerouac9

kerouac9

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My money is on Stroud - he looks like an incredible talent moving forward.
Yeah. That core is pretty solid and very young. I think the rise was so fast and expectations next year are going to be extremely high it'll get lost that this was a team that was 10-7 and needed help to get into the playoffs.
 

BritCard

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Generous to have Trent Williams on the Niners in 2026. He'll be 38 years old.

That contract was constructed knowing he was unlikely to get close to the end while making sure he stayed with the team.
 

Crimson Warrior

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I would be floored to see Dortch on the Cards in 2026...heck, I believe he may not be around in 2924. The team is going to do everything they can to bring in taller and bigger WRs, IMO.

Doubt Greg Dortch at your peril Ron! haha :)

P.S. when you have a spare moment, no rush, would you please bump the thread that had the funny video of recent cardinals tight ends with total eclipse of the heart playing in the background? I think you're the one who originally posted this, but I couldn't find it last night when searching. Thank you so much!
 

Mulli

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Doubt Greg Dortch at your peril Ron! haha :)

P.S. when you have a spare moment, no rush, would you please bump the thread that had the funny video of recent cardinals tight ends with total eclipse of the heart playing in the background? I think you're the one who originally posted this, but I couldn't find it last night when searching. Thank you so much!
I need that!
 

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