The Arizona Cardinals have invested a lot into their offensive line.
They picked up D.J. Humphries’ fifth-year option worth $9.625 million, drafted Mason Cole in the third round, signed Andre Smith to a two-year $8 million contract, and once upon a time had Mike Iupati on a five-year $40 million contract.
Justin Pugh was supposedly one of the best guards in 2018 free agency, which is why he was signed to a five-year $45 million contract.
Despite allowing only one sack on the season, Pugh, according to Pro Football Focus, is one of the worst offensive guards in the NFL.
His 51.1 overall grade thus far is the sixth worst among the 64 eligible guards. Caleb Benenoch, Vladimir Ducasse, Dan Feeney, Jon Feliciano, and Cardinals’ Mike Iupati are the only guards that rank below him.
The Cardinals offensive line as a whole isn’t any better, ranking as the worst unit in the NFL according to PFF. Their 40 combined pressures allowed by the interior lineman is concerning.
There’s still plenty of time for Pugh to turn things around. But, how much more money do the Cardinals need to invest into this offensive line until they get some good results?
Cardinals GM Steve Keim had a higher grade on Justin Pugh than Andrew Norwell in free agency. Maybe versatility was more important than anything else but Norwell was clearly the better guard. Keim’s overall ability to analyze and scout offensive lineman is put more into question.
They are scheduled to take on the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, a team boasting arguably the best front seven in the NFL. The Cardinals can’t continue to put up lackluster performances on the offense, especially if they want to keep up against a high-scoring Vikings’ team. The improvements must start up front and the offensive line needs to step up their game.