When the 2016 season began for the Arizona Cardinals, the mantra of “All or Nothing” was not just because of the hit Amazon series that featured the team.
It was because to many, the Cardinals in 2016 were at their last gasp as contenders.
Simply because no team in the NFL had a larger turnover in the 2017 offseason than the Arizona Cardinals.
Over the Cap took a look at every NFL teams snap turnovers and no one is losing more quality snaps than the Arizona Cardinals:
Arizona has been incredibly aggressive with their contracts in recent years which put them in a position where they were going to have a hard time keeping players this year. The Cardinals lost 4 defenders- Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Kevin Minter, and Marcus Cooper- who played over 800 snaps last year. They will be replacing them with age in Antoine Bethea and Karlos Dansby which is generally not going to work out.
This can be looked at in a couple ways:
- Arizona is going to have lower expectations because of the massive roster turnover. There will be less expected of them and that could allow them to play above expectations.
- Maybe that iteration of the Cardinals had done as much as they could and the turnover was needed.
Now, this isn't to say that they will unequivocally be better or worse in 2017, but sometimes losses are over stated.
The two biggest question mark on defense are replacing Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson. Minter is easily replaced and Cooper was a one year wonder in a contract season.
Campbell and Jefferson were integral pieces, but it's not as though the Cardinals were not prepared.
Instead, the question becomes can unknowns replace knowns?
The second part is pretty accurate to me:
I said going into last year that the Cardinals window may have closed with that playoff loss and they were the ultimate boom or bust team and barring a terrific season for Carson Palmer its hard to really see that changing while the team is doing what it can to fill in the pieces within their cap situation.
If the first paragraph is true, then what the Cardinals are doing makes complete sense. Why delay the inevitable? Why continue to push forward with a maxed out roster?
After this season Larry Fitzgerald is a free agent while Palmer enters the final year of his deal. Palmer’s salary next year is $3.5 million less than this season so it would make sense for him to take the “raise or retire” approach which could mean lots more changes by next year.
While this may not be a Super Bowl contender, it is a playoff contender, and at that point, who knows?
It also is a team in transition and 2017 will tell the front office if a complete overhaul is needed or if they can continue to churn spots on the roster to get prepared for the post-Palmer portion of the Keim and Arians era.