Cardinals Reportedly Agree to Terms with 14 UDFAs, Including Arizona CB Jace Whittaker

Howard Balzer

Even though the draft ended after 255 players were selected in three days, the work didn’t stop as teams scurried to sign undrafted players. In the hours since the conclusion of the draft, various reports have the Cardinals agreeing to terms with 14 undrafted players.

That would put the roster at 86 players, four short of the offseason limit, after the addition of six players in the draft. Agreeing to terms were three cornerbacks and guards and one running back, wide receiver, tight end, tackle, defensive end, defensive tackle and safety.

The process can be chaotic as agents for priority free agents often field offers from multiple teams, angling for as much guaranteed money they can in the form of signing bonuses and portions of the first-year base salary. Some agreements are consummated before the draft even ends and take effect in the even the player isn’t selected.

It is not unusual for there to be reports that has some players agreeing with more than one team. Some teams announce agreements with players before contracts are signed; others wait until the signing actually occurs.

Some players prefer to be free agents rather than seventh-round picks because they have more of an opportunity to potentially choose their team.

Here are the players reportedly agreeing to terms with the Cardinals:

*TE Ryan Becker, SMU (6-5, 248). Mostly a blocker and special-teams standout in college where he had just 16 career catches. Last season, he had four receptions for 30 yards with one touchdown. In high school at Marble Falls, Tex., was a roper in rodeo events. Once asked how his teammates would describe as a player, Becker said, “Fierce competitor, wired different, a tough player, someone who never quits.”

*T Jake Benzinger, Wake Forest (6-7 295). Started 13 games at right tackle last season (1,111 snaps) and had 40 starts in his career including his last 39. Was honorable mention All-ACC in 2019 and was on the Dean’s List and an Academic All-America selection.

*DE T.J. Carter, Kentucky (6-4, 289). Started 12 games last season and had six sacks during his career. He tweeted, “I’m undrafted and I love it. I faced a lot of adversity last year but it prepared me for what needs to get done. My fire is even bigger and I can’t wait to get down to @AZCardinals!!”

*G/T Jackson Dennis, Holy Cross (6-7 308). Played tackle in college where he had 11 starts last season and played in 50 career games.

*G Andrew Dickinson, Findlay (6-3, 308). Started 46 games in four seasons at the Ohio university.

*S Reggie Floyd, Virginia Tech (6-0, 222). Started 34 games in his career and recorded 222 tackles, 14 for loss and five interceptions. Last season, he wore jersey No. 1 as picked by teammates for a player that embodied work ethic. Shortly after the draft, he tweeted, "I want to thank the Cardinals organization for taking a chance with me and you will not forgot it!!!!!. For everyone else you in trouble now I’ll never forget it. #BrickByBrick"

*G Steve Gonzalez, Penn State (6-4, 341). In three seasons, he started 42 games and last season was voted second-team All-Big 10.

*TE Parker Houston, San Diego State (6-3, 250). All-Mountain West as a senior when he had a career-high 18 receptions. Known mostly for his lead blocking ability.

*WR Shane Leatherbury, Towson (5-11, 190). He had 12 touchdowns last season, five of which came in a 56-7 victory over Bucknell on Oct. 21, tying a school record. For the season, he had 52 receptions for 667 yards and 199-1,552-19 in his career. Towson’s quarterback was Tom Flacco, brother of Joe Flacco, currently an NFL free agent after being released in March by the Broncos.

*CB Zane Lewis, Air Force (6-1, 190). A cousin of former NFL CB Shawn Springs, Lewis started his final 24 games at the academy. Last season, he had an interception and 15 passes defensed. He reportedly received a $20,000 signing bonus.

*DE Adam Shuler, Florida (6-3, 275). Started his college career at West Virginia, then played as a graduate transfer at Florida where he started 23 games in two seasons and compiled 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. Had 19.5 tackles for loss in his career. Was on the Florida track team where he threw the discus. Probably undersized to be an end in a 3-4 defense.

*RB Jonathan Ward, Central Michigan (6-0. 202). Had two solid seasons and two with little production in college. Last season, Ward rushed for 1,108 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. For his career, totaled 2,544 yards and 28 touchdowns. Also caught 98 career passes for 909 yards and another four scores.

*CB Jace Whittaker, Arizona (5-11, 185). GM Steve Keim talked about liking to add players from Arizona and he was able to do it with Whittaker, who came back from a junior year in which he missed most of the season because of an elbow injury to have three interceptions in 2019 in 12 games. He started 32 games in his career with seven interceptions.

*CB Jarren Williams, Albany (5-10, 187). Of his 46 tackles last season, 34 were solo, and he had three tackles for loss. Scored a touchdown on a 63-yard interception return.


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