Bringing in a new head coach-general manager combination, the Cardinals are not yet making big changes up front. Instead, they are re-signing blockers added by the previous regime.
After agreeing to terms with right tackle Kelvin Beachum, the Cards, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, are re-signing guard Will Hernandez (Twitter link). The former Giants second-round pick agreed to a two-year, $9MM accord, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.
Hernandez did not leave New York with much momentum last year, settling for a one-year pact worth the league minimum. Despite missing some time during his first Cardinals season, Hernandez will have a chance to reprise his role as a first-stringer for the rebuilding team.
The Giants used Hernandez as a full-time starter during his first, second and fourth seasons. Despite this early-career seasoning, his market was ice cold last year. This time around, it is clear other teams showed interest. Hernandez, 27, started 13 games for the Cards and ranked seventh in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric among guards. Pro Football Focus slotted the five-year veteran 30th at the position.
Although the Cards lost a few blockers to major injuries last season (D.J. Humphries, Rodney Hudson, Justin Pugh), Hernandez did not need one of the starters to go down to commandeer a first-string gig. He won the job opposite Pugh from the jump. Pugh is unsigned, while Hudson is expected to retire. Humphries remains in the picture, as does Beachum, who is staying on a two-year deal.
PFF ranked Arizona’s O-line as a whole 24th, but the Monti Ossenfort-Jonathan Gannon regime will be expecting a better performance with more games from the starters. Hernandez will represent part of the new regime’s equation up front.