- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Even though they checked off their top priority of free agency with left tackle Jared Veldheer just minutes after the mayhem began, the Arizona Cardinals haven't been sitting idle, happily basking in their take.
On Wednesday, they re-signed one linebacker -- Marcus Benard -- while reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal with another -- Matt Shaughnessy -- and added a running back and another offensive lineman.
Two other visits to the Cardinals' Tempe training facility on Thursday are raising eyebrows. It was confirmed that Arizona met with former New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie and, according to reports, former Carolina wide receiver and returner Ted Ginn.
Both would instantly make the Cardinals better.
Both would instantly make the Cardinals a contender.
Both showed that Arizona is serious about winning this year.
Competing in the NFC West is a chess match. Every team is trying to one-up the next. By bringing Cromartie and Ginn in, the Cardinals are showing not just the West, but the rest of the league that they're playing at the high-stakes tables.
Ginn would be the third receiver for the Cardinals, a speedy threat that head coach Bruce Arians would use to take the top off. He'd also be Arizona's kick returner -- a major upgrade from Javier Arenas last season. Ginn is also a punt returner, but I don't see Arians taking Patrick Peterson off punt duty especially after he didn't give Tyrann Mathieu a chance last year before his knee injury.
As for Cromartie, he'd be an upgrade from Jerraud Powers across from Peterson and would solidify Arizona's secondary as one of the best in the league. It would also prevent teams from picking on Powers, which was often the case last season when teams stayed away from Peterson. More importantly to the Cardinals, Cromartie could be the answer to defending tight ends. At 6-foot-2, he'd match up better with the likes of Jared Cook and Vernon Davis than Powers or any of the Cardinals' safeties. And if Cromartie lined up across a tight end, in the slot possibly, Mathieu is capable of sliding to the corner spot on the edge after he returns.
However, while Ginn would be affordable, Cromartie would most likely have to take a significant pay cut to come to Arizona. But he'd be one piece that could help Arizona make a run to next February.