The 2011 draft class is among the best drafts in the 2000s. The Cardinals are spending money acquiring three members of that class to open the free agency period in 2021.
JJ Watt was the first, inking a two-year $31 million deal on March 1. Then the “legal tampering” period opened with A.J. Green joining the wide receiver room on a one-year $6 million contract. The latest move was a trade for center Rodney Hudson and seventh round draft pick, in exchange for a third rounder. Outside of all being apart of the 2011 draft class, these three additions share commonalities. Toughness and leadership. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim is excited to see the impact these new players will have on the field and in the locker room.
“Two of our offseason goals was becoming a more physical football team and adding leadership to our locker room,” Keim said. “I think that all three of those guys bring not only the physicality but the leadership and the intangibles that you look for to ‘self-police’ the locker room. Those three additions have really raised the bar for us in that respect.”
The kicker position is also being addressed, with the signing of the 36-year-old Matt Prater. He’s known for booming kicks of 50 plus yards and having ice in his veins in crunch time. This was a move that any team hoping to make a playoff push would make, because the close games often come down to field goals.
“A lot of games are lost by three points or less,” Keim said. “He’s been as good as any guy in NFL history at kicking game-winning field goals. To be able to add not only his consistency in clutch moments, but also his leg strength of kicking 50 plus yard field goals, was really big for us.”
The Cardinals are also re-signing punter Andy Lee, who is a staple in the locker room.
We have re-signed P Andy Lee to a one-year contract. pic.twitter.com/nqg9CrpMbS
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 22, 2021