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Cardinals unrestricted free agents: Marcus Benard

3/5/2015

My look at the Arizona Cardinals' list of unrestricted free agents continues with a player who was a good value signing early in the season and played a valuable role as a backup.

Next up: Marcus Benard, LB

Reason to re-sign: Benard is the right mix of production, age and value. Last season he earned $515,294 with a cap hit of just $402,353 for 13 weeks of service, including playing in the final 12 games. He only played 64 snaps and had seven tackles with a sack, but he was a quality backup when Arizona needed him to provide a breather or attack off the edge. If the Cardinals can keep him at that price -- although he was signed to a one-year $730,000 contract -- he would be worth it to be a back-up who can rush the passer.

Reason not to re-sign: Last season Benard was used primarily as a dime linebacker. With a role so niche, the Cardinals might not want to spend close to $1 million on Benard for one specific scheme. As much of an asset as he was last season when injuries decimated the Cardinals’ defense, he wasn’t productive enough to force Arizona to keep him.

Prediction: If the Cardinals can get Benard at the right price, he’s worth keeping around as a backup. Arizona has learned that he’s not a hot commodity on the waiver wire, so they can sign him when needed.