So...how was everyone's afternoon?
Mine was really good. Thanks for asking.
"Why" you ask? Well, I'll get to that in a minute. It's funny how a ho-hum day can change in a heartbeat. That pretty much sums up the Cardinals offseason, in fact. Pretty ho-hum at first. But now?
Lets grade the moves, shall we?
Cardinals trade Jonathan Cooper and 2016 2nd round draft pick to the New England Patriots for Chandler Jones
Let's start with the big one. I did not see this coming, even though I hinted in my last article that they could trade for a pass rusher, especially with a lack of them in the upcoming draft class.
But when I saw this on my twitter timeline, I was shocked. Then, I was elated. The Cardinals have a pass rusher!!!....
But....they traded a second round pick.
I mean, let's be frank here: Jonathan Cooper? Not that upset about. But a second rounder? That's a tiny bit tough to swallow.
Taking in the whole picture though, I thought the Cardinals did the best they could. They realized that they need a pass rusher, and badly. They tried for guys that probably aren't in as good of a position as Jones is either. Maybe better pass rushers (especially Pierre-Paul before the hand thing), but to get a 25 year old who is coming into his prime and coming off a 12.5 sack season?
That doesn't happen often.
I'm psyched about this trade. Not like a A+ trade, but a solid B+ for me. Do the Cards have to figure out how they are going to pay him? Sure. Will they miss that 2nd rounder? Probably. But, as you and I both know, the Cardinals draft better in the third anyway.
Sign S Tyvon Branch to a 2-year deal
I think this could be one of the best sneaky deals of the offseason. I really do. Branch apparently has speed to burn (even if he is 29), and can really help the spacing issues the Cardinals have on that back end. Did he shine in Oakland? No, but then again who has over the last decade? And KC? Would YOU start him over Eric Berry? He still played a lot, and fairly well from what I understand. It's not a ton of money for a guy who could be very good. Now...if we can just bring back Tony Jefferson....
Re-Sign Red Bryant, Drew Stanton, and Jermaine Gresham
The biggest one is probably Stanton. Arizona needs insurance behind Palmer, and seeing the fairly bad state of backup QBs in the league, if he left, I was going to start getting worried.
Gresham is nice to have back as a solid starter at TE. And even Bryant is nice to have back as potentially part of a solid DE rotation, and as a guy who could slide to DT in certain scenarios.
Nothing special, but a few nice pieces to bring back. IF they can hang on to Swearinger and Jefferson, I'd say the defense is looking really good (plus I see them going defense with their first pick).
Sign G Evan Mathis to a 1 year, $6M deal
This wasn't a shocker to me. Well, except the money. But the Cardinals have made it clear they are in win now mode. And they want a Pro Bowler like Mathis, who, although old, can provide solid play at the RG spot--something they didn't have a lot of last year. He's good in the run game, so I think David Johnson should like this signing. Is it a bit much? Maybe.
But the Cardinals are putting it all out there, especially since Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and a few others aren't getting any younger.
What grade would YOU give the Cardinals for these offseason moves?