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Two Cardinals Secure Most 'Player-Friendly' Free Agency Deals

The Arizona Cardinals handed out two of the most player-friendly deals in free agency, according to Pro Football Focus.

ARIZONA -- The Arizona Cardinals had salary cap space to spend this offseason, and they didn't shy away from spending as the second year of their rebuild looks to get underway. 

No, the Cardinals didn't land any of the big fish on the market, though they did allocate plenty of resources to positions such as defensive line and cornerback in the early stages of free agency. 

As the dust settles on major signings and the second wave of additions continues across the league, Pro Football Focus took a look at some of the most player-friendly deals awarded throughout the process.

The Cardinals landed two of the five contracts listed with Justin Jones and Sean Murphy-Bunting:

Sean Murphy-Bunting

Sean Murphy-Bunting

Contract: Three years, $25.5 million ($8.5 million per year), $14.195 million fully guaranteed, $17.39 million total guaranteed

Brad Spielberger: "The timing for Murphy-Bunting truly could not have been better, coming off the one-year flier he signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2023 to serve as their top cornerback, a role he filled admirably in a defense that had him taking on challenging assignments almost exclusively out wide and playing up in press coverage at a decent clip. 

"Even better for Murphy-Bunting was the fact that the Chicago Bears franchise-tagged Jaylon Johnson and the Kansas City Chiefs franchise-tagged L’Jarius Sneed, so he became the top free-agent outside cornerback under the age of 27 by a fairly wide margin. We truly just failed to appreciate that.

"Murphy-Bunting also deserves credit for how he performed in 2023; we’re not saying he didn’t earn this contract on his own merit. Playing for a Tennessee Titans defense that featured one of the least talented secondaries in the NFL — especially once safety Kevin Byard was traded at the deadline — the former second-round pick tallied two interceptions and five more pass breakups. Murphy-Bunting also provided solid run support with 14 defensive stops and 50 total tackles, both good numbers for an outside cornerback."

Justin Jones

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) runs the ball and is tackled by Chicago Bears defensive tackle Justin Jones (93) during the first quarter at Soldier Field.

Contract: Three years, $31.165 million ($10,388,333 average per year), $17.75 million fully guaranteed at signing, $19.75 million total guaranteed

Spielberger: "Jones shows a lot of high-level flashes on tape, knifing upfield in a hurry and making splash plays on the quarterback or with tackles for loss. He has recorded 7.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss and 50 total defensive stops over the past two seasons. That said, considering his down-to-down and game-to-game inconsistencies, this contract number was a bit surprising. Jones signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Bears in 2022 and undoubtedly played to that deal; we just didn’t expect a significant raise off that number for his third contract.

"We should also point out that being a great locker room guy and presence in the community can get you some extra cash in this league, and it absolutely should. Jones was by all accounts one of the most well-liked players in the Chicago Bears organization the past two years, and he was honored as the Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2023.

"The Cardinals had a void at the interior defender position and needed to make a move or two before the draft, and Jones is a great fit as a foundational piece and culture-builder for Jonathan Gannon’s unit going forward. All of that said, this is a great deal for Jones."

For more details on their respective deals, you can read below: