The general feel about the moves that the Arizona Cardinals have done so far is that the team is doing a great job and it has closed the gap in the division.
Today, I purposely look at the offseason with a different set of lenses and point out what could easily be seen as poor decisions in the offseason.
Problema número uno: Letting Dansby go
The Cardinals made a mistake when they allowed linebacker Karlos Dansby to get away and sign a four-year contract with the Cleveland Browns. They certainly did not have to match the offer, but by not offering him something competitive, their best defensive player is no longer with the team. What happens to a unit that loses its best player? It regresses. Kevin Minter might become a very good player, but he is certain to not produce at the same level as Dansby last season, nor will he fill the leadership void.
Problema número dos: Not adequately addressing many needs
I will give the Cardinals credit -- they were able to sign Jared Veldheer to a five-year contract. The left side of the line is set. However, the right side is a mess now. Who will start at right guard and right tackle? No one knows. The right tackle position has not even been addressed and the move the team made a right guard was bring in Ted Larsen, who has graded very poorly in games in which he has played guard.
There were two other major holes from last season -- safety and tight end.
The team hasn't done a single thing at safety. Yeremiah Bell is a free agent and Tyrann Mathieu is going to be out for quite some time. The team had issues at safety. They have not added anyone. They have Rashad Johnson (a decent option), Tony Jefferson (very little experience) and practice squad guys in Curtis Taylor and Orhian Johnson. Taking a position of weakness and then not addressing it is not a good way to go about it.
On offense, the tight end production in 2013 was lackluster. So what do they do? They let their most reliable player go and bring back more uncertainty. Rob Housler struggled with inconsistency and injuries. Jake Ballard's ability to play a whole season is still a concern. So, naturally, the team brought in John Carlson, who has been both inconsistent and has had injuries. They re-signed Ballard as well, so the team, based on past trends, might get one solid tight end's production between the three of them.
Problema número tres: The Cromartie signing
Yes, the Cardinals signed a Pro Bowler, but he will be 30 years old and is coming off a season in which he was injured and saw a dip in his play. His one-year contract is not bad, but you have to wonder -- his previous team cut him because of his salary, but despite being desperate for cornerbacks, didn't want him back. That's usually a bad sign.
Problema número cuatro: Ginn's fast, but....
Bruce Arians really, really wants speed at receiver -- a burner that can "take the cover off the top of defenses." They picked up Ted Ginn for three years to fill that need. The contract is worth nearly $10 million. That is a lot of money for a guy that is on his third team in three seasons, caught only 36 passes in 2012, and is not known for being much of a receiver. While there is worth in the return game, is he a significantly better receiver than Brittan Golden, who will make far less money?
Problema número cinco: Kicking status quo
The team's decision at kicker was to bring back Jay Feely, who missed four field goals in December -- two more than he missed the rest of the season. He will battle Danny Hrapmann, who has yet to attempt a kick in an NFL regular season game. Feely missed key kicks down the stretch last season and is not a great kickoff guy. For a team trying to get over the hump, why would they not try to bring in someone better?
Summing it up:
While they did fix left tackle, they took a step back at receiver (Andre Roberts is better than Ted Ginn) and perhaps took a step back at tight end. They did not improve at safety and lost their best defensive player.
Does that sound like a great offseason?
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