Cardinals Sign DE L.J. Collier, Re-Sign CB Antonio Hamilton

Former Seahawks first-round defensive end L.J. Collier will have another chance in the NFC West. The Cardinals are bringing in the edge rusher, according to the team.

They also announced Tuesday cornerback Antonio Hamilton is staying. Both defenders signed one-year contracts with the retooling team. Hamilton joins a few Steve KeimKliff Kingsbury-era additions in coming back. Kelvin Beachum and Matt Prater also agreed to stay in Arizona to start the Monti OssenfortJonathan Gannon regime.

One of a few off-board first-round picks the Seahawks have made in recent years, Collier represented the John SchneiderPete Carroll regime’s biggest swing and miss in the round. Collier was barely seeing playing time by the time his rookie contract ended, with healthy scratches coming at points during his rookie deal. The TCU product ended his Seattle career with just three sacks; each of those came in 2020.

This will be an uphill battle for a reclamation project, considering Collier’s scant production. The Seahawks tried him as a starter in only 2020, when he started 16 games. They moved on to other first-string options over the past two seasons. Collier, 27, maxed out at six sacks in a season in college as well. The former Horned Frogs edge player’s modest college production left him off the first-round radar, but as the Seahawks have shown with Rashaad Penny and Jordyn Brooks, they care little for consensus options in the draft. The Cards will attempt to use Collier at multiple positions up front, Jeremy Fowler of tweets.

Hamilton rebounded from a late-summer kitchen accident, which resulted in serious burns on his feet and landed him on the Cardinals’ reserve/NFI list to start the season. The well-traveled cornerback re-emerged to play in 10 games and start a career-high five. The 6-foot defender notched his first interception and allowed a career-low 82.0 passer rating as the closest defender in coverage. Pro Football Focus also assessed Hamilton’s work positively, ranking him 36th at the position after his 418-snap 2022.

The Cardinals looked into ex-Gannon charge James Bradberry and were interested in re-signing Byron Murphy, but after Murphy — now a Viking — worked as Arizona’s No. 1 corner over the past two seasons, the team remains in dire need at the position. Hamilton, 30, should represent an early piece of this puzzle. The veteran will come on an affordable contract, earning $1.5MM guaranteed and a max value of $2MM, per Fowler (on Twitter). The Cards, who did not move aggressively at corner last year, will need to add multiple additional corners before the offseason ends.

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