The first year of a new regime in the NFL is always rocky since the roster was primarily built by the previous staff. The second year is when GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon can really start to build their vision for the Cardinals. 

They have the most important piece in quarterback Kyler Murray. They also have a high-end pick at four overall, so you better believe they are plugged into this weekend’s NFL scouting combine. 

What we’re doing today is taking a look at the Cardinals depth chart, contracts, and roster heading into NFL free agency to see if we can predict what happens both for Cardinals fans and fantasy gamers alike!

*The salary cap numbers referenced in this article come courtesy of our friends over at*

Fantasy Football Depth Chart: Arizona Cardinals


Kyler Murray

Clayton Tune


Running Back

James Conner

Emari Demercado

Michael Carter

Marlon Mack

Wide Receiver

Marquise Brown

Zach Pascal


Wide Receiver

Michael Wilson


Wide Receiver

Rondale Moore

Greg Dortch


Tight End

Trey McBride

Elijah Higgins


Tight End

Geoff Swaim

Travis Vokolek

Blake Whiteheart


White = unrestricted free agent

Green = role is safe

Yellow = role could be in jeopardy

Red = could be traded or released





Kyler Murray: Until Kyler Murray starts winning meaningful games, there will be questions about him. There always are with mobile QBs. But Kyler has the added layers of criticism regarding baseball or videogames or whatever else folks want to want to harp on. One thing that cannot be denied is this - Kyler Murray puts up numbers in fantasy football. 

If you take all quarterbacks all-time and sort them by fantasy points per game, Kyler Murray is top five. And all the off-field or leadership talk makes for a fine discount for us in dynasty leagues. The new regime is committed to him and he’s under contract until 2028 without any real outs that wouldn’t be painful cap-wise until that final year.

Clayton TuneThe Cardinals have had a LOT of movement with their backup QB spot from Colt McCoy to trading for Joshua Dobbs to trading him away top the Vikings. For now, the only backup under contract is fifth year QB Clayton Tune. He made one start last year and it was a rough 0-27 blowout against the Cleveland Browns. So he might not be the long-term answer.

CARDINALS QB FREE AGENCY TAKE: The reality right now is that the Arizona Cardinals are probably not going to turn things around overnight and compete for a Super Bowl this year. If you think they can, there are +10000 odds you can take with the sportsbooks out there paying out 100/1 on your investment. 

With that in mind, I don’t think the Cardinals really need to spend up on the best possible backup QB to win games for them in a pinch. Either rolling with Tune or bringing in a veteran leader to help coach would be the way. Here are some options.

POSSIBLE FREE AGENT QB OPTIONS: Josh Johnson, Blaine Gabbert, Matt Barkley

Running Back

James ConnerThis is where the state of the running back position currently is - James Conner has a cap hit just under $9 million and that is the sixth highest cap hit of any RB. If he were a WR, his cap hit would rank 38th. I think the Cardinals let Conner play out the final year of his contract but, if they are going to release or trade him, it will happen before March 17th when he has a $1.5 million roster bonus due. 

For fantasy football, James Conner has really never been bad, he’s only been hurt. The problem there is that he has missed multiple games in every single season for seven straight years now. He’s in red on our chart because of some rumors of a cut or trade but my personal prediction is that he stays.

Emari DemercadoDemercado took over once Conner went down which made him a hot waiver pick up in the fantasy football world. He did however lose some pass-down work to the likes of Keaontay Ingram and Michael Carter, so he wasn’t the every-down back the way Conner was. 

As it stands today, if Conner were to go down, they would probably have Demercado operate on early downs with Carter on run downs. Perhaps worth a stash in deeper leagues but he has an uphill battle to fantasy relevance.

Michael CarterRobert Saleh basically told reporters that the Jets had too many good running backs and it wasn’t fair to Carter to have him “rot” on the bench which is why he was traded. Whether you believe that narrative or not is up to you, but Carter did flash briefly with the Jets, and he does have some pass-catching chops. 

We mentioned the injury history for Conner and, if the Cardinals don’t add an RB, Carter could find himself getting some pass work even without an injury. Keaontay Ingram was released in November of last year so, after Conner, he’s the best pass-catching back on the team.

Marlon MackMack unfortunately tore his Achilles tendon before the season even started so he never played a down for the Cardinals. Now, as an unrestricted free agent coming off a major injury, he has an uphill battle to land somewhere. We’re rooting for him.

CARDINALS RB FREE AGENCY TAKE: If the Cardinals move forward with James Conner, they are set with their starter on paper. But the injury history would have me planning on being without him for at least a couple games - he has never played more than 13. You can get it done with a combination of Emari Demercado and Michael Carter but, if they wanted someone reasonably priced that might be more reliable, here are the options. 

CARDINALS RB FREE AGENT OPTIONS: Kareem Hunt, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Gus Edwards, Ezekiel Elliott, Matt Breida, Antonio Gibson


Wide Receiver

Marquise BrownJoe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase played together in college and now they make beautiful music together in Cincinnati on Sundays. And that had to be part of the thought process here in trading for Kyler’s college teammate, Hollywood Brown. 

That could be a reason that the Cardinals keep Brown as an unrestricted free agent but that was also a move made by the old regime, so his future is up in the air. Tee Higgins has been franchise tagged so Brown is easily a top four free agent wide receiver along with Mike Evans, Michael Pittman, and Calvin Ridley. After that crew, it’s a pretty big drop off. So Brown might not come cheap.

Michael WilsonThe Cardinals likely have their big split end for 2024 with second year wideout Michael Wilson. As we mentioned, unless they somehow land Evans or Pittman, the next best split end on the free agent market is who? DJ Chark? I think the Cardinals roll with the third round pick out of Stanford for 2024 at the very least.

Looking back, it was a strange year for Wilson who flashed in some games then disappeared in others. For instance, he had a two touchdown game against the 49ers in Week 4 but then in Week 15 against the same team he played 88% of the snaps and finished with zero catches on three targets. I’m willing to ride the rollercoaster to see how he develops so the big split end is a buy for me in dynasty leagues.

Rondale MooreRondale Moore has not quite popped in the NFL and he’s also not quite become a full-time player. In this Cardinals offense, he led the team in slot snaps but came out of the game for two WR sets in favor of Wilson and Marquise Brown

Unless his role expands in 2024 when he plays flanker in two wide and slot in three wide, the way guys like Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin, or Keenan Allen do, his upside is capped. Given his size and what we have seen too far, I wouldn’t be on it. He’s a sell for me in Dynasty.

Greg DortchGreg Dortch is an exclusive rights free agent which means they can keep him for just under a million dollars. And he returned virtually every kick and punt for the Cardinals so I expect them to announce they are picking up that option any day now. For fantasy purposes, he’s the return man and de facto backup slot WR. It would need to be a deep league for that to sound appealing.

Zach PascalZach Pascal is familiar with the coaching staff from his time in Philly. He can play all three WR positions if someone goes down. And he plays on four different special teams units  - kick coverage, kick return, punt coverage, and punt return. So I expect him to be with the team in 2024. These 53 man roster spots are valuable and having a guy like that frees up spots for other positions.

CARDINALS WR FREE AGENCY TAKE: The Cardinals are a popular pick to take a wide receiver in the first round of the draft at four. At that spot, they are virtually guaranteed to get one of Marvin Harrison Jr or Malik Nabers, if they want him. And that would be your flanker lining up opposite of Michael Wilson at split end with Rondale Moore in the slot. 

That’s your replacement for Marquise Brown. If they do let Brown walk and DON’T plan to take a WR, these are your best free agent options at flanker. I also want to note that, on this list, is Van Jefferson who is a free agent for the first time this year in his career. His father is the WR coach for the Cardinals…

CARDINALS WR FREE AGENT OPTIONS: Calvin Ridley, Curtis Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, Gabe Davis, Darnell Mooney, Van Jefferson.


Tight End

Trey McBrideThe Cardinals have to be happy with Trey McBride - he played so well that they didn’t even need Zach Ertz when he came back from injury. From Week 8 onward, when Zach Ertz was out, McBride had the second most receptions of any tight end behind only Evan Engram. He’s on a rookie deal and locked in for the foreseeable future.

Geoff SwaimSwaim is an unrestricted free agent and, if he’s not back, the Cardinals will need a new blocking tight end to come in for jumbo packages. That shouldn’t be too hard to replace if need be.

Elijah HigginsI like the idea with Higgins. You have a college wide receiver who was willing to convert to wide receiver so he has the pass-catching chops. He was also teammates with Michael Wilson so you’ve got some familiarity. Why not have him around to help with the pass catching work if McBride were to go down?

Travis VokolekVokolek was called up late from the practice squad to help with the blocking when Geoff Swaim went down. If Swaim isn’t back, maybe he can earn this role? He could also be released with zero dead cap so he needs to make this team from scratch.

Blake WhiteheartWhiteheart was also up and down from the practice squad though he hardly played in any actual games. Though technically under contract as well, he’ll likely continue to float around at the taxi squad level.

CARDINALS TE FREE AGENCY TAKE: They are set with their starter so they really just need the jumbo blocking tight end. If they don’t bring Swaim back, here are some guys that fit the bill. Since this is a rebuild, we excluded the 40 year old Marcedes Lewis.

Seahawks Free Agent Blocking TE Options: Drew Sample, Adam Trautman, MyCole Pruitt, Johnny Mundt, Tyler Kroft, Pharaoh Brown

NFL Free Agency Previews

Discover our other breakdowns for the rest of the league ahead of 2024 NFL free agency: