After the offseason the Arizona Cardinals had, it is not surprising to see the anonymous executives from around the league give a strong take on the team. Simply because when you don’t have to put your name on it, it is easy to be harsh.
That is exactly what happened in the ESPN article where a group of anonymous executives, coaches and evaluators graded every NFL teams offseason. The Arizona Cardinals took a beating.
There was no way the Cardinals could replace what they lost when Calais Campbell hit the market and signed with Jacksonville. They could have shown greater interest in keeping him, but coach Bruce Arians was on the record saying he thought Campbell should have been a more consistent performer. Re-signing Chandler Jones was instead the focus.
I do find it interesting that every outlet and anonymous quote we have seen come out laments the Campbell loss, while Cardinals fans tend to focus on the “call outs” from Bruce Arians.
Arizona did replace safety Tony Jefferson with second-round pick Budda Baker, but for a team looking to win before Carson Palmer runs out of time, this offseason looked like a net loss for talent.
Huh. That is honestly a take I never thought of. Probably because the safety position has been so replaceable in Arizona.
"They could kill it in the comp picks in 2018, but that is a lifetime away," an exec said. "I'm not a fan of where they are headed. Should they have lost Calais Campbell?"
Yes, no matter how you slice it, they should have lost Campbell, unless they had him franchised. They couldn’t afford to pay him what Jacksonville did, at his age. Again, though that goes against the idea of “going for it with Palmer”. If they were truly going for it, they wouldn’t have concerned themselves with cost.
The Cardinals' four-year, $28 million deal for Jermaine Gresham puzzled some in the league, especially while better players were leaving the roster. Arizona could still improve in the standings -- not by improving from a talent standpoint, but simply by avoiding some of the ridiculous special-teams breakdowns that proliferated in 2016.
"They had a lot of personnel losses and they didn't really get the offensive line right," an exec said.
I have explained the Gresham thing enough, but the last part... How much more can they invest? Maybe the investments they have made are bad, as opposed to getting the line wrong.
This seems overly simplistic, but maybe that is the reality of the Arizona Cardinals offseason, that they simply lost more proven talent than they added, their best players got a year older outside of David Johnson and Patrick Peterson and they have question marks at a lot of places: left tackle, right guard, right tackle, wide receiver, all the defensive front seven outside of Jones and Golden, and the secondary outside of Peterson.
Not sure I agree, but if you boil it down to nuts and bolts... It does make sense.