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3 moves the Arizona Cardinals should still make after signing Darqueze Dennard

The Arizona Cardinals attempted to fortify their cornerback situation on Thursday by signing former Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick Darqueze Dennard to a one-year contract.

Whether this helps Arizona in an NFC West that’s absolutely loaded at wide receiver remains to be seen. Dennard, 29, spent each of his first six NFL seasons with the Bengals after they made him the No. 24 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft — recording 274 tackles and three interceptions in 24 starts. He played on a limited basis with the Atlanta Falcons a season ago.

Arizona definitely had a need at cornerback after losing franchise stalwart and future Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. Even then, there’s other moves this team must make before Week 1 in order to be seen as top-end contenders in the ultra-competitive NFC West. Below, we look at three potential moves for the Cardinals as the offseason wraps up.

Arizona Cardinals trade for Zach Ertz

Arizona Cardinals trade for Zach Ertz
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, Maxx Williams is slated to be the Cardinals’ starting tight end in 2021. He’s recorded all of 25 receptions in 23 games with the team over the past two seasons. Regardless of whether Kliff Kingsbury’s offense focuses a lot on tight ends in the passing game, this is an area Arizona must improve.

Why not go after a Pro Bowler in Ertz who has been on the trade block over the past several months? Sure the 30-year-old tight end saw a downtick in production this past season, but he’s more than capable of reclaiming the top-end tight end status we saw in 2018 and 2019 (204 combined receptions). It also likely wouldn’t cost Arizona anything more than a third-round pick to pry Ertz away from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Arizona Cardinals trade Jordan Hicks

Arizona Cardinals trade Jordan Hicks
Dec 26, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) following the game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Good teams must be proactive on the trade market. That includes moving veterans who no longer fit into their long-term plans. For Arizona, this means moving off linebacker Jordan Hicks. The team has granted him permission to seek a trade after drafting Zaven Collins in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

A full-time starter over the past four years with the Eagles and Cardinals, Hicks is set to count $6 million against the cap in 2021. The Arizona Cardinals can save about half of that by trading the still-viable starting linebacker in the coming weeks. Even if it means acquiring a mid-to-late round pick in return, this makes sense.

Arizona Cardinals trade for Julio Jones

Arizona Cardinals trade for Julio Jones
Oct 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Surprisingly, Arizona is one of the teams in on this seven-time Pro Bowler after it signed A.J. Green earlier in the offseason. Whether this could work from a salary cap standpoint remains to be seen. Jones, 32, would count $15 million against the cap for an acquiring team. Right now, the Cardinals are $13.23 million under said cap.

While it might take salary cap gymnastics from general manager Steve Keim, adding Jones to the mix in a blockbuster trade would make Arizona’s offense nearly unstoppable. Imagine the future first ballot Hall of Famer teaming up with Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and rookie second-round pick Rondale Moore in catching passes from Kyler Murray. That’s the equivalent of football porn.