First off: This is going to be as realistic as possible trade/scenario type of thing. I want the compensation to be reasonable, while also getting the biggest bang for my buck, figuratively.
Now, without further ado, let's get this 'trade targets' for the Cardinals started!
Joe Haden for a 4th round selection and Justin Bethel
I honestly don't know if the Browns are intending to keep their top pieces until they have no urge to play anymore or what, but to me, Joe Thomas and Joe Haden are wasting their collective talents in Cleveland.
Let's focus on Haden though. Last year wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. He did have a productive year, but dealt with some injuries that hindered his play considerably.
In 2015, he only played in 5 games, and it carried into the 2016 season, as he did not go into training camp with a full bill of health. On a very poor defense, he still had 11 pass deflections and 3 interceptions.
In today's NFL, I feel as if Joe Haden would be a perfect fit as a number two corner in this league. I understand that in some ways, Steve Keim doesn't want to invest too heavily on one position, but you can't be ignorant either.
I think it's too soon to know what you have in Brandon Williams, as he is still learning the scheme, but any time you are able to add a former pro-bowl corner, why not? And, you would obviously have enough on the back-end, to where you are able to disguise your coverage, and not have to depend on too much safety help.
Another thing that pops in my head is the compensation, do I think that the Browns would give up a former pro-bowler for a 4th round and key special teams cog? In some ways, I think so. Jamar Taylor and recently signed Jason McCourty definitely look the part of a maybe 'new look' defense, why not take the money and run? The compensation seems fair, plus then you don't risk a possible down year for Haden. Win-win? We can only hope.
Danny Amendola for a 6th round selection
Either this makes a lot of sense or it doesn't, it's up to your thinking. Let's pros-cons this really quick, maybe that will show why I made this type of 'maybe' trade.
Pro's: Bruce Arians LOVES those quick-twitched receivers with great hands, someone who can create separation for a deep shot down field. He's older with a dash of injury history, so he should come cheap, and you know that Bill Belichick likes to exploit trade markets. It's like acquiring a cheaper version of Julian Edelman. Last one, this would actually maybe help cushion the blow if Fitz was to retire next offseason, yes, Fitz is a tall slot while Amendola is small-framed slot, but Danny would maybe give the Cards a sigh of relief in the case of a retiring Larry Fitzgerald.
Con's: He's older with a dash of injury history (as previously mentioned), and that's with the Patriots using Amendola sparingly. Let's think of it this way: The Patriots have Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Andrew Hawkins, Matthew Slater (who is 9 times out of 10 a wonderful special teamer), and very Belichick-y rookie Austin Carr. I think the Patriots really don't have to depart from Amendola, so that could be the standing point to drive up the price. I think that Steve Keim has a price tag that he never sways from. Also, Amendola is on the last year of his contract, making him a free agent after the season. If the Cardinals could convince Fitz to come back, this would have been a very large waste of a pick.
So, considering all the pro's and con's, do you think this would be a good trade for the Cardinals? I'll let you decide.
Chad Kelly and Corey Nelson for Drew Stanton and Kaleb Johnson
This one is hit-or-miss in my opinion, as the Cardinals would be taking a flyer on a rookie quarterback with injury history and angered past, but it's actually just so that the Cardinals could get a better look at a certain inside linebacker; Corey Nelson.
If I'm the Broncos, I am going to bring in a veteran force in my QB room, just so that the Broncos have some stable guidance for either Trevor Siemian or for Paxton Lynch.
Whoever the quarterback is going to be next year, they can't learn from another inexperience QB, that's where the experience and cheapness of Drew Stanton comes to play.
Once I heard that Deone Bucannon was going to be injured for possibly all pre-season and maybe a couple regular season games, I thought nothing of it, but then I thought of how much a rookie needs to learn to come into the Cards defense, and decided to be open to the thought of having more competition in the linebacker room.
Not to mention, think of the backups for the Cards in the outside linebacker room (as Nelson can play different positions); Jarvis Jones (maybe a bust), Nordly Capi (cool name, don't know much about him), Kareem Martin (bust so far), Alani Fua (special teamer), Gabe Martin (special teamer), Zavier Gooden (meh), and Scooby Wright (big fan, still needs time in this system). Yes, you would still need to pay Corey Nelson a contract once the season is over, but at least you would have first crack at him, and maybe (I hope not) he is a cheaper option then Deone Bucannon.
Plus, in multiple schemes, it's good to have positionless players.
Matt Darr for Kareem Martin
This one is simple: This for that. The Cardinals have been very terrible in the punting game, and it's evident in 2016, as the the Cards used THREE punters throughout the season.
Matt Darr is an excellent punter, and I don't mean to convince anybody. 44.3 average is just incredible, his long was 66 yards, and he downed 32 inside the 20 yard line. And to only give up a 4-3 defensive end, I think we would come out ahead in this scenario.
Why would the Dolphins be okay with trading Matt Darr? Because the Dolphins supposedly are very fond of Matt Haack, the rookie from Arizona State.
Another big one is that Darr is due a possible extension (restricted after the season), so maybe the Dolphins don't want to extend if not necessary.
Win-win for the Cardinals. Fix the special team game, and maybe don't worry about losing by a margin of 3-9 points.
Sheldon Richardson for Troy Niklas, 5th round selection, and 2019 5th round selection
I could not resist, for my last trade, I just could not resist. This is the one bandwagon jumping that I just love with all my heart. It's not a complete win-win, but if a trade like this (maybe more compensation) can happen, the Cardinals obviously win in a big way.
The red birds need desperately to replace Calais Campbell, leadership wise and performance wise. Now, I'm not going to lie to you and say "this guy is a leader", because we all know it's bull-hockey (sorry for the language), and it all starts with the way he talks about his teammates. It's almost disgusting to put a fellow teammate on blast the way he did with Brandon Marshall, because to me, everything should be handled in-house, not in front of the media. So, no matter who was right or wrong, Richardson did not prove to be a leader like Campbell.
As a field-warrior, Sheldon Richardson can make plays all over the field. He plays in a similar scheme as the Cards (go figure, Todd Bowles), and he still makes the type of plays that can stop a run game in its tracks. Don't worry about the 1.5 sacks last year, he is a 3-4 defensive end with natural bend and get-off speed.
So, imagine a very drooly dream of this: Richardson, Gunter, Mauro, Peters, and Nkemdiche rotating to clog up lanes (obviously this gives Nkemdiche more time to learn, no trial by fire), while Chandler Jones and Markus Golden (maybe Mauro) rush the passer from the 3-4 d-end spot.
That was a very tasty defense in my opinion. Alas, the problem lies in whether the Cards are ready to give up on the whole "Niklas" experiment. Are they ready to call it? I think no matter how he looks in shorts, he would need to be a better version in pads, and not injured to keep around. Also, if the Cardinals can get rid of Jonathan Cooper and his injury bug, why not Niklas. I still think Niklas can be a good player, but are we depending too heavily on a typically injured player? I don't know.