TEMPE, Ariz. -- Leading up to the start of free agency on March 9, we’ll evaluate the situation at every position for the Arizona Cardinals. We’ll look at who will return to Arizona in 2017, who’s set to hit the open market, what the Cardinals need at each position, and we'll throw out a few potential options to fill those open roster spots.
Position: Offensive line
What’s needed: After injuries to three of their starting five offensive linemen, one thing the Cardinals learned the hard way last year was that they had more depth than originally thought. Linemen who coach Bruce Arians had no idea could play turned out to be more than adequate fill-ins, and some even started.
Having enough depth left over leaves few needs on the line. If Shipley leaves in free agency, the Cardinals might either look for a veteran center or give Boehm – who was drafted in 2016 as the team’s future at center – the ball. If he plays center, Arizona will then need to find a new right guard because Evan Mathis retired after last season. If Shipley returns, Boehm will likely end up starting at right guard, giving the Cardinals some stability on the offensive line because, as of now, both tackles and left guard Iupati are expected to return.
Watford provided the Cardinals with a unique option on the line because he was so versatile. He could play tackle, guard and even took practice snaps at center. Finding another offensive lineman who’s just as versatile could be beneficial to keeping the number of offensive linemen on the active game roster to a minimum, but it’s not necessary.
However, one of the biggest questions regarding Arizona’s offensive line will be who plays left and right tackle. After left tackle Veldheer got hurt last year, Humphries moved to left – his natural position and the position he was drafted to play. But the Cardinals haven’t committed to either Veldeer or Humphries playing either side yet and hinted that Humphries could take over full-time at left tackle, moving Veldheer to right.