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NFL free agency grades: Arizona Cardinals get 'A' for offseason work so far

But their biggest move was a trade, not a signing

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After the first wave of free agency, everyone wants to grade teams and see who is winning the offseason. The Arizona Cardinals started slowly, but made two moves that have the entire NFL watching -- trading for Chandler Jones and signing Evan Mathis.

Chris Wesseling of gives them an A for their offseason work and says they did the best in the NFC West so far.

After pressuring Cam Newton on a season-low 20.7 percent of dropbacks in the NFC Championship Game, the Cardinals watched the Broncos' pass rush dominate the league's MVP en route to the Super Bowl 50 title. Coach Bruce Arians came away convinced that the most pressing offseason priority on an otherwise stacked roster was a disruptive edge rusher. Noting that "pass rushers don't grow on trees," general manager Steve Keim shipped draft bust Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick to New England for 2015 Pro Bowler Chandler Jones. Colts coach Chuck Pagano quipped last month that "Von Millers ain't falling out of the sky." Arizona just added an athletic pass rusher with 30 sacks over the past three years, the same number Miller has posted over that span.

Not finished upgrading on defense, the Cardinals bolstered the secondary by importing Tyvon Branch, one of the league's stingiest cover safeties in 2015. On the other side of the ball, Keim tweaked the offensive line, replacing Cooper with savvy run-blocking guard Evan Mathis while allowing last year's first-round pick, D.J. Humphries, to replace Bobby Massie at right tackle. Beyond the new faces, the Cardinals also re-signed Chris Johnson, Jermaine Gresham and Drew Stanton. The NFC West's strongest team just got stronger. Grade: A

Arizona tried to add Jason Pierre Paul early, but held to their offer. He chose a return to the Giants. But you have to like what the Cardinals have done. They have a championship roster and they added two players where there was need.

I gave the Cards a C during the first week. Now they have added Jones and Mathis, you have to think it is much higher. Would you give the Cardinals an A as well?