Potential Browns offensive free agent targets for Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have officially announced Drew Petzing as their new offensive coordinator under new head coach Jonathan Gannon. He was previously the quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns.
He will bring a new offense to the Cardinals after four years of Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid-based spread offense.
It is common to see players from coaches’ previous team follow them to new teams, which means we can look at the Browns for potential players who could come to Arizona and either start right away knowing the offensive system or provide leadership and stability off the bench as the team learns the new offense.
Below are some players from the Browns last season on offense who are scheduled to be free agents and might make sense for the Cardinals to target.
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QB Jacoby Brissett
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Brissett has two connections to the Cardinals. He was drafted by the Patriots when Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort was in the director of college scouting there.
He was the Browns’ starting quarterback last season until Deshaun Watson returned from his suspension, so he worked directly with Petzing.
Kyler Murray is currently rehabbing a torn ACL and could miss the start of the season and even as much as the first half of the season.
While the Cardinals have Colt McCoy already on the roster with more than $2 million in guaranteed salary in 2022, having someone like Brissett to start the season as the starter having worked with Petzing before makes a lot of sense.
RB Kareem Hunt
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Hunt had 678 total yards from scrimmage last season for the Browns and five touchdowns playing as the No. 2 to Nick Chubb.
He would complement James Conner nicely.
OL Chris Hubbard
(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Hubbard enters his 10th NFL season and he hasn’t been a starter in a few seasons but he plays both tackle and guard and would be a nice veteran reserve to have.
RB D'Ernest Johnson
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Johnson had more than 600 yards from scrimmage in 2021 for the Browns but in three of his four NFL seasons, he has played mostly special teams.
However, the Cardinals will need players like this on the roster so he would fit as a No. 3 or No. 4 back.
C Ethan Pocic
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With the future of Rodney Hudson very uncertain and the Cardinals found themselves scrambling and struggling at center for most of the season.
Pocic was solid for the Browns last season and the Cardinals know him well from his five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.
He would come in and play capably and know the offensive calls to some extent.
TE Jesse James
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
The Cardinals have a good pair of tight ends in Zach Ertz (although he is coming back from a torn ACL) and Trey McBride, but James `is big at 6-foot-7 and 251 pound, and he has caught as many as 30 passes in a season.
He only played two games for the Browns last season before landing on injured reserve.
TE Pharaoh Brown
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Brown could be a decent No. 3 tight end for the Cardinals after appearing in 13 games for the Browns, starting five, and catching five passes.