Arizona Cardinals Free Agent Signings 2023: Will Hernandez – Arizona Cardinals Blog


GLENDALE, Ariz. – Free NFL agency is up and running, and we’re tracking every major signing, trade and release of the 2023 offseason with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our experts. The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft begins April 27 on ESPN.

The Arizona Cardinals are entering a free hand to replenish about half of their 53-man roster. It will be the start of a roster overhaul by new general manager Monti Ossenfort and new head coach Jonathan Gannon. A few specific priorities for a team that has four wins: offensive line, cornerback, and pass rush.

Last year’s free agency class included quarterback Colt McCoy, guard Will Hernandez, tight ends Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams, punter Andy Lee, running back James Conner and wide receiver AJ Green.

Arizona tends not to make splash commitments on day one and has used free reign to enlist aging stars to take the lead in the dressing room, but this is new regime so anything can happen.

Here’s a breakdown of all of the 2023 NFL free agents signed by the Cardinals and how each impacts the upcoming season:

Hernandez re-signed to a two-year deal to return to the Cardinals.

What it means: Arizona’s offensive line for 2023 has been developing rapidly, and Hernandez is a part of it. He will likely be the right warden where he played last season. He brings up another familiar face for quarterback Kyler Murray whenever he returns from his knee injury.

What is the risk: As with any offensive lineman, there is a risk of injury. He missed three games last season with a chest injury.

White agreed to a two-year contract.

What it means: The Cardinals added some much-needed depth to the outside linebacker by bringing White into the mix. He will fill any number of holes in Arizona’s outskirts left open by the release of Markus Golden and failing to re-sign Zach Allen. White played mostly off-ball linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, but Gannon has said his plan in Arizona will be diverse. White is a familiar face to both head coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, both of whom coached White with the Eagles last season.

What is the risk: There really isn’t much. White will know what both Gannon and Rallis want because of his time with them, and as an off-ball linebacker, he won’t have expectations of going to quarterback as often as other linebackers. However, any sacks he can get will be a huge bonus for a defense desperate to get more quarterback in 2023.

Beachum agreed to a two-year deal.

What it means: The Cardinals are getting a little more stability on their offensive line by bringing back Beachum, who missed just two games in his first three seasons with Arizona. He started every game he played. The Cardinals have now solidified their tackles for next season, with left tackle DJ Humphries still under contract. Beachum has been a consistent tackle but his leadership and presence in the dressing room have made him all the more valuable and will continue to do so for a team that will be turning around half of their roster.

What is the risk: He’s bringing Beachum back with a deal guaranteed to get him just $3.26. In many ways, the Cardinals got a bargain planning for Beachum to be their starting right.

Turner agreed to a one-year deal.

What it means: Turner has been a key part of the Cardinals’ special teams in recent years, and his return brings some stability to the unit, especially since Arizona has retained special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.

What is the risk: The risk is as small as it is.

Prater agreed to a two-year contract.

What it means: The Cardinals are bringing back arguably the second most important player on the roster. The 38-year-old Prater has had a season in which he has had 22 of 25 field goals and 17 of 18 extra points. He’s been historically consistent, which is what the Cardinals, like any team, need from their kicker. A hip injury plagued Prater last season, but he still only missed three field goals.

What is the risk: The greatest risk at the Prater is injury. If he can’t leave, the Cardinals will be forced to find a replacement, and then Arizona could be in trouble. He’ll be 39 when the season starts, so keeping his body ready could be Prater’s biggest challenge in 2023.

Clement agreed to return to a one-year contract.

What it means: The Cardinals added depth by re-signing Clement to a one-year contract. He had just 15 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown in nine games last season. Clement will be a safety net in case James Conner goes down or needs a break and will fight to be Conner’s backup.

What is the risk: Few. The only way Clement can really go is to move up after barely getting a chance last season. If he can impress the Cardinals’ new regime enough during OTAs, minicamp and training camp to earn playing time, Arizona has another option off the backfield.

The Cardinals re-signed Dortch for a year.

What it means: The Cardinals saw how dependable Dortch, 24, could be and wanted to keep him for what was expected to be a cheap salary. Wide receiver will be an area the Cardinals will need to address this offseason, but holding Dortch, who had 52 catches for 467 yards and two touchdowns last season, gives them a solid weapon on the depth chart.

What is the risk: There is little risk in bringing Dortch back. He’s a reliable option as a third or fourth receiver and can be an option as a kick returner. He proved last season that he can use his playing time. He has great hands (no drops in 2022).

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