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2019 Arizona Cardinals offseason: Projecting an offseason full of moves

A look at the draft and free agency.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Brigham Young Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I got bored and decided to do a whole offseason plan for the Arizona Cardinals. There are explanations after each phase, but if you have questions about certain players, put it into the comments. I’ll try my hardest to answer any questions you may have.

NFL Draft:

1st Round (1st Overall Selection)
Nick Bosa - Defensive End
Ohio State - Junior
6’4’’, 263 Pounds

For those who are going to ask; no to Kyler, he’s 5’10’’, they just drafted Rosen that is worth more then what they would get currently, and a tradeback would require losing out on Bosa.

When I look at what Bosa could be, in the current scheme being projected by Vance Joseph, he fits the Von Miller role very well; attack the weak side and allow yourself to play free in open space by avoiding chips and pulling guards.

2nd Round (33rd Overall Selection)
Beau Benzschawel - Offensive Guard
Wisconsin - Redshirt Senior
6’6’’, 315 Pounds

Sometimes, you get lucky with the top of the second round. Beau Benzschawel is a stud lineman, played on a very formidable Wisconsin line that could have maybe won the big 10 on their own based on leadership and stability. Beau played tight end in high school, and that translated very well for the badgers. No one knows what to expect from a line that not a single player exceeded a PFF grade of 66%. Beau Benzschawel exceeded that plus every week this year, rebuilding the line needs to be a priority.

3rd Round (73rd Overall Selection from New England Patriots via Detroit Lions)
Justin Skule - Offensive Tackle
Vanderbilt - Senior
6’6’’, 315 Pounds

Some of the best pass-rushers this year came from the SEC, so Justin Skule of Vanderbilt has seen some action this year, and because he’s had a positive grade, this selection in trade back fashion is a good spot for him. Justin Skule posted 8 pancakes and less than 6 sacks this year. I’m not saying he’s going to fix the left (or right) tackle position, but he’s a dancing tackle with slick feet. Throw as many options at the problem.

4th Round (104th Overall Selection)
Josh Oliver - Tight End
San Jose State - Senior
6’5’’, 250 Pounds

I’ll be honest, Ricky Seals-Jones makes a lot of sense for Kliff Kingsbury (as does Jermaine Gresham, but Gresh has overstayed his welcome), but don’t be satisfied with just RSJ when you see the drops, he had last year. Enter Josh Oliver, a receiving tight who’s able to connect very well in blocking linebackers effectively. Needs more development on rotational blocking, but at the next level, Josh Oliver could finally be the right tight end the Cardinals have been waiting for.

5th Round (140th Overall Selection)
Calvin Anderson - Offensive Tackle
Texas - Redshirt Senior
6’5’’, 300 Pounds

The top transfer from last year went from a pretty disappointing Rice program to a mighty longhorn team with a Heisman hopeful. Texas ended up getting good results from the transfer, Calvin Anderson played considerably good in both pass and run blocking, and this is a good range for Anderson. He could be a guard at the next level, that’s a fair assumption, but it’s not as if his arms can’t reach. With a faster game around Anderson, he just needs to get better at countering the speed rush. He could, especially with him having time on the bench to learn and develop. Last thing don’t know if this helps any, he can solve a Rubik’s cube in 30 seconds.

6th Round (178th Overall Selection)
Jalen Hurd - Wide Receiver
Baylor - Senior
6’4’’, 217 Pounds

Another transfer, this one is peculiar. He was a running back for most of his college career, and actually put up decent numbers at Tennessee. He goes to Baylor, becomes a receiver, and becomes a focal point of their offense. Over 900 yards and 4 touchdowns, look for Hurd to be a great mismatch. Needs more time developing as a receiver, but since only playing one year of college receiver, his potential could be great.

6th Round (183rd Overall Selection from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Cody Thompson - Wide Receiver
Toledo - Redshirt Senior
6’2’’, 205 Pounds

His yardage was good, it’s his touchdowns that has put Cody Thompson in most draft discussions, as he’s put up 10 touchdowns this year. If you want an air raid, Toledo throws similar to what Kliff wants to do, getting a slot like Thompson opens up things for the Cards. Expect more intermediate throws.

6th Round (189th Overall Selection from Miami Dolphins)
Sterling Sheffield - Inside Linebacker
Maine - Senior
6’2’’, 240 Pounds

We are going small school here, the Cardinals need help in pushing their 3-4 scheme, and a linebacker corps are needing overhaul. If you want a linebacker to flow sideline to sideline, the athletic and versatile Sterling Sheffield is a good answer in the sixth round. He got 19.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks on the year, impressive and fast off the edge, would his new position in the middle translate?

6th Round (214th Overall Selection via Compensatory)
Cortez Broughton - Defensive Tackle
Cincinnati - Redshirt Senior
6’2’’, 290 Pounds

Here’s a spark plug on the line, Cortez Broughton plays with great leverage for his size, and a knack for getting pressure in the quarterbacks’ face. 17.5 TFLs doesn’t come easy in the trenches, and in a 3-4, he could eat up plays in the backfield. Clog those run-lanes and get the proper people for the type of book that Vance Joseph wants to run.

7th Round (250th Overall Selection via Compensatory)
James O’Hagan - Center
Buffalo - Redshirt Senior
6’3’’, 305 Pounds

A former wrestler who’s been very solid for Buffalo and has been a three-year starter. When you need a backup for Mason Cole, this is the type of guy you want as depth.

Undrafted:

Ka’Dar Hollman - Cornerback
Toledo - Senior
6’0’’, 190 Pounds

Hollman was a solid Senior for Toledo, and he probably could compete to get Cody Thompson ready. Rookie on rookie battle.

Trades:

1.
Arizona Cardinals receives:
73rd Overall Selection (Justin Skule - Vanderbilt)
Marcus Cannon - Offensive Tackle ($4M)
2020 5th Round Selection

New England Patriots receives:
65th Overall Selection (Nick Fitzgerald - Mississippi State)

My first trade is so the Patriots get their next QB, Nick Fitzgerald. They give up Marcus Cannon, who’s on the market after the playoffs due to Isaiah Wynn returning from injury. Cannon would finally solidify the right tackle spot, while allowing a guy like Korey Cunningham to develop.

2.
Arizona Cardinals receives:
189th Overall Selection (Sterling Sheffield - Maine)
DeVante Parker - Wide Receiver ($9.387M)

Miami Dolphins receives:
D.J. Humphries - Offensive Tackle (-$9.625)

This is my biggest trade, the Cards let Hump go for the prospect of DeVante Parker. Parker and Humphries both are 5th year options, so it’s a switch in salary.

3.
Arizona Cardinals receives:
2020 7th Round Selection

Denver Broncos receives:
A.Q. Shipley - Center (-$1.65M)

This was easy for me, I haven’t wanted Shipley for two straight years.

Free Agents:

Re-sign:

Larry Fitzgerald - WR
1 year, $7.5M

Olsen Pierre - DT (RFA)
1 year, $2.914M (2nd rd)

Ricky Seals-Jones - TE (ERFA)
1 year, $685K

Obviously, if Larry Fitzgerald decides to retire, then we will miss him. He does decide to come back, this is the amount that could sway him into staying. Olsen Pierre is given a second round tender, he fits the scheme that’s coming in from Vance Joseph. Seals-Jones is a cheap ERFA, why would I let him leave. He’s played for Kliff Kingsbury, and knows the system we want to play.

Release:

Jermaine Gresham - TE (post June-1st cut)
(+$4.218M, -$4M)

Justin Pugh - OG (post June-1st cut)
(+$4.955M, -$4M)

Mike Glennon - QB (post June-1st cut)
(+$3M, -$1M)

Josh Bynes - ILB (post June-1st cut)
(+$1.74M, -$366K)

If I were the GM, I immediately rectify the mistakes and misses from Steve Keim. Since Keim remains, I implore him to fix his own mistakes. Jermaine Gresham is paid like a quality pro-bowl tight end, and he is not that. If you don’t know that, then you are being oblivious. Justin Pugh is a decent lineman when not injured. He certainly was exposed last year, I’m not willing to pay him pro bowl numbers to be a below average guard (ask Iupati).

Mike Glennon and Josh Bynes are business decisions, I’m leaning towards giving them a pink slip. I think Glennon is decent, but why does he have a $4M contract? Get a QB who’s cheaper, why not? Glennon didn’t win you any games last year. Bynes goes back to the 3-4, he might be worthy of his contract, he might not. I’m giving up on his contract in hopes that he would give us more flexibility on the cap.

After these releases and estimated dead cap, our estimated cap is $109.201M.

Sign:

Mike Person - OG
Previous Team: San Francisco 49ers
4 year, $28M
(2019: $7M, 2020: $7M, 2021: $7M, $2022: $7M)

I steal an up-and-coming guard from a division rival. Giving him $7M is like giving $10M last year to Pugh, it’s risky, but I have more belief in Person not to get injured like Pugh has in his previous 3 years.

Jermaine Kearse - WR
Previous Team: New York Jets
2 year, $13M
(2019: $6.5M, 2020: $6.5M)

As many receivers you can get to repair the crop, you go get. I think since Kearse could be had for a decent price, I’m willing to check out his sturdy route-running and solid hands.

Jason Verrett - CB
Previous Team: Los Angeles Chargers
1 year, $6M

We need someone to play opposite Patrick Peterson, Jason Verrett has been injured this year, but I believed in him last offseason. Buy low, he could be had for around this price range.

Donovan Smith - OT
Previous Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2 year, $10M
(2019: $5M, 2020: $5M)

This is the wrong year to invest in the offensive line. If you want an inexpensive left tackle to patch up until you reach a better 2020 class (I’m throwing money at Anthony Costanzo next year), Donovan Smith is available.

Derrick Morgan - OLB
Previous Team: Tennessee Titans
1 year, $5M

With the upcoming drafting of Nick Bosa, I need a mentor. Derrick Morgan has been consistent as a run-stuffer, and in a part-time role where he’s looking to improve his stock, we strike and take advantage.

Tyler Kroft - TE
Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals
2 year, $6.5M
(2019: $3.25M, 2020: $3.25M)

Injuries. He’s coming to us because injuries have hindered Kroft, and why the heck not. He’s a gifted receiver who can take advantage of linebackers with his speed. Is a decent blocker too.

Johnathan Hankins - NT
Previous Team: Oakland Raiders
2 year, $6M
(2019: $3M, 2020: $3M)

Johnathan Hankins backs up Corey Peters. This makes sense because of the way you rotate Hankins in a 3-4, allowing him to be in while Peters is in. It’s like having an extra defensive lineman ready to hop in with fresh legs.

James Carpenter - OG
Previous Team: New York Jets
1 year, $2.75M

In this situation, scooping Carpenter means that the Cardinals are ready for Beau Benzschawel to start, but are ready just in case he’s not.

Tavon Austin - WR
Previous Team: Dallas Cowboys
2 year, $5M
(2019: $2.5M, 2020: $2.5M)

Austin is destined to come in on a prove it deal. He fits what the Cardinals would like to do, spread the ball, and get mismatches.

Preston Brown - ILB
Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals
1 year, $2.5M

Need someone to replace Bucannon. Preston Brown could be had for cheap, and he fits the 3-4 effectively.

Nate Sudfeld - QB
Previous Team: Philadelphia Eagles
1 year, $2M

I said no to Glennon, but said yes to a QB who’s quite appealing. I want to test Sudfeld vs Charles Kanoff for the backup job, who knows, we might discover that both are ready for a bigger promotion other then scout team QB.

Nick Boyle - TE
Previous Team: Baltimore Ravens
1 year, $2M

Injured, Nick Boyle comes to AZ to compete. Usually a very weak tight end room, we need more guys ready to go.

Zach Zenner - RB
Previous Team: Detroit Lions
2 year, $3M
(2019: $1.5M, 2020: $1.5M)

Zenner tore us up last year when the game was coming down to the wire. It showed me that capabilities of a downhill back like Zach.

Hayes Pullard - ILB
Previous Team: Los Angeles Chargers
1 year, $1.25M

A backup option for the inside linebacker room.

Justin Hunter - WR
Previous Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
1 year, $1.25M

A backup option for the receivers room.

Eric Rowe - CB
Previous Team: New England Patriots
1 year, $1.25M

A backup option for the cornerback room.

2019 UFA = $52.75M

2019 own FA = $11.099M - $13.913 (dead cap = $9.366M) = $6.552M

2019 trades = $2.112M

2019 draft = $17M

2019 estimated cap = $109.201

2019 offseason = $78.414M

Total = $187.613

Projected salary cap = $196.498M

= $8.883M Free Cap Space