There were few teams who had a more active offseason than the Arizona Cardinals. Now, the Cardinals needed to be active this offseason because of a couple of marquee retirements.
According to ESPN Insider Mike Sando, other executives within the NFL not only took notice, but liked what the Cardinals did this offseason:
While head coach and quarterback are two of the most important roles in an organization, sometimes it seems as though no one has any idea how to project success for either one. We’re left to evaluate the process, and in the Cardinals’ case, there was much to like. They named Steve Wilks head coach after what appeared to be a legitimate search, and they landed arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft without overextending.
That was one of the biggest reasons for their success this offseason according to these anonymous NFL executives:
Other teams trading up to select quarterbacks in the top half of the first round paid hefty premiums. The Jets gave up three second-rounders. The Bills leveraged Cordy Glenn and multiple early picks (including one that had cost the team No. 1 wideout Sammy Watkins a year earlier).
Arizona gave up merely third- and fifth-rounders in moving up five spots for Josh Rosen. “Not only did they not pay a premium,” an exec marveled, “they didn’t even pay market value!”
The cost or lack of that Keim paid to move up to acquire Josh Rosen was one of the main reasons that other executives liked the Cardinals offseason so much.
They secured what they hope is their franchise quarterback, and gave up basically nothing in exchange:
“If you were to poll coaches or scouts who evaluated all the quarterbacks, very few from a pure talent standpoint would say, ‘Yeah, Josh Allen is a better talent than Josh Rosen,’” an exec said. “Most would tell you Allen is a better talent, just pure watching him on film. Yet, what Buffalo had to give up to get Allen is crazy compared to what Arizona had to give up to get Rosen.”
Yet, why did they not get an “A”. Well, much to the chagrin of some fans of the Cardinals, it was because of the cost to sign Sam Bradford, not necessarily the signing itself of Bradford:
Another exec said he would give the Cardinals an A for the offseason if the market for Sam Bradford hadn’t pushed his price tag so high. Even with the protections Arizona built into the contract, Bradford would cost the team more than $17 million even if he lasted just half the season. That deal was made before Arizona knew it could land a quarterback in the draft.
The Cardinals, according to these insiders, had the third best offseason, along with the Baltimore Ravens, in the NFL, with only the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots grading out better, both with “A-”.
That’s a strong response from Steve Keim after going into the offseason with a number of questions to answer.