We are just over a week away from the Arizona Cardinals’ season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes will face a Cardinals defense with plenty of question marks, particularly at the edge rusher position.
The Cardinals have a slew of promising young players at the position but are missing a veteran presence following the departure of Chandler Jones to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jason Pierre-Paul, 33, remains a free agent and is the runaway best at his position left on the market. While Paul didn’t have the statistical numbers he would have liked last season, his 2020 season was very successful. He totaled 9.5 sacks and started every game.
Paul would be joining a similar attacking 3-4 defensive scheme in Vance Joseph’s defense, coming over from Todd Bowles’ unit in Tampa Bay. Assuming he has remained in playing shape, one could assume he would be a plug-and-play type of player.
The Cardinals released veteran OLB Devon Kennard from the active roster, opting to bring him back on the practice squad. They have question marks at the position with Markus Golden possibly holding in for a new contract.
Bringing in a Pro-Bowl caliber edge rusher like Paul, even at his age, would give the Cardinals defense a much-needed boost. It would alleviate some of the pressure on rookies and younger players at the position to perform at a high level immediately. A veteran like Paul could only help their development as well.
If the Cardinals went into week one with a veteran pass rush group of J.J. Watt, Markus Golden and Jason-Pierre-Paul, paired with their promising young talent, they’d be in a good place. The recent woes at the cornerback position would be aided by such a pass-rushing presence.
The Cardinals division and overall schedule this year is daunting. One can never have too many pass rushers.