Cardinals hope to re-sign DL Zach Allen

The Cardinals have already handed out a franchise record deal to their first pick in the 2019 draft — Kyler Murray — and it appears to be Arizona’s second pick that year (cornerback Byron Murphy) is on the radar for a new deal. While the team already cut ties with the other two-thirds Cliff Kingsbury‘s first design – wideout Andy Isabella — it has singled out another 2019 conscript for a potential re-up.

Arizona wants to keep Zak Allen on a second contract, notes ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. The former third-round pick is having his best season and may not make it to free agency. Although money will be a rather remarkable part of that timeline.

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A defensive end VanceJosephAllen’s 3-4 schedule has already tied his career best for quarterback hits (14) through 11 games. Working with a healthy JJ Watts, Allen has recorded 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss. Allen’s six pass deflections—also a career high—lead all defensive linemen this season. Pro Football Focus rates Allen 23rd among D-linemen in interior.

While it’s uncertain how the Cardinals will proceed with Watt, whose $28 million contract expires at the end of the season, Allen is a logical candidate to keep due to his age (25) and improved production. If Watt’s deal comes off the books, the Cardinals will have no significant payments due to defensive linemen in 2023.

It will be interesting to see how Kingsbury’s status plays into Allen and Murphy’s future in Arizona. While GM Steve Kim has not come forward in the firing rumours, his status would also affect how the Cardinals arrange pieces for the future as well. Canning Kingsbury would also affect the Cardinals’ defensive plan, with Joseph tied to the fourth-year HC. Without factoring these issues into the equation, the cards identified Allen as a keystone player.

The Cardinals have Allen, Murphy and Watt as high-profile free agents in 2023. Although Watt is a future Hall of Famer on the first ballot, he has had frequent health problems in the second half of his career. Watts staying healthy this season also looks to create a nice market for a fourth contract in March, even as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year turns 34 next season. The Cards also have three offensive line starters whose contracts expire after 2022 .

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