The Arizona Cardinals think the deal for Rodney Hudson last year will strengthen their central position, which has been the game of musical chairs for years.
Hudson, 32, appeared in 12 games last season when he suffered a rib injury and had to take a COVID break. The likes of Max Garcia and Sean Harlow will start in his place in Hudson’s five missed games.
Arizona is currently facing uncertainty due to Hudson’s absence from the team’s mandatory minicamps. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury told the media that Hudson’s absence was unexcused. Kingsbury won’t go into detail about Hudson.
“Yes, no updates,” Kingsbury said. “We are working with him. As soon as we know, we will have that update.”
With the unknowns related to the center position, one writer has suggested possible options in the starting center if Hudson does not return to the team.
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Veterans Center option still available
SB Nation’s Andy Kwong wrote about three veteran liberal agents so the Cardinals could sign. Kwong mentioned JC Tretter, who was also mentioned by Jess Root of USA Today Cards Wire.
Kwong’s second free agent center pick for the Cardinals to sign is Matt Paradis, who tore his ACL in Week 9 of the 2021 season with the Carolina Panthers. Kwong mentioned that Paradis is linked with offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who coached the 32-year-old midfielder in 2018 with the Denver Broncos.
“Cardinals game coordinator and offensive line coach Sean Kugler is very familiar with free agency center Matt Paradis,” Kwong said. The 32-year-old midfielder was previously a sixth-round pick outside of Boise State for the Denver Broncos in the 2014 draft, who made 98 appearances in his career. Kugler coached Paradis in 2018, Kugler followed Vance Joseph to Arizona in 2019 when Paradis signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Panthers. The eight-year veteran sat out eight games last season due to an ACL tear. If he makes a full recovery, Paradis is a worthy player.”
Paradis was a contributor to the 2015 Broncos Super Bowl when he was ranked the best center in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Before the 2021 season, Paradis missed seven games in his first six seasons in the NFL.
He didn’t miss a game in his first two seasons in Carolina. There’s reason to believe Paradis still has plenty of gas in the tank at 32. With Paradis recovering from his ACL injury, the Cardinals or any other NFL team could sign Paradis to a one-year contract.
Another possible free agent to follow
Kwong believes freelance agent Trey Hopkins, who has played with the Cincinnati Bengals since 2014, should be the Cardinals’ third pick at center.
“Hopkins was released by the Bengals in March after they offered Ted Karras a three-year deal. The former Texas untrained free agent has made 67 appearances since 2015 and remains versatile with his experience at both center and guard. Though he’s had his troubles, Hopkins would in fact be seen as an upgrade over everyone but Hudson at center. He recorded 100% tackles in all four of last season’s knockout games against the Cincinnati Bengals. “
Hopkins has only 51.4 PFF points for the 2021 season. He also only allowed four sacks and four penalties, placing 3rd and 20th in the NFL, respectively. Hopkins also has versatility as he plays both central and midfield for Cincinnati.
The Bengals cut Hopkins due to a $6 million savings on the cap as well as having an erratic 2021 season. He’s also about to have an ACL tear.
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https://heavy.com/sports/arizona-cardinals/cardinals-urged-to-pursue-lineman/ Cardinals Urged to Pursue Free Agent CV Matt Paradis