The Arizona Cardinals have made quite the offseason of moves and those moves will be graded by pundits from around the league.
However, what do some of the executives and coaches from around the league think?
Mike Sando of ESPN wrote that article this last week, giving out his grades with commentary from anonymous exec’s, scouts and coaches.
Let’s take a look at what they had to say from the E$PN In$ider article:
Execs predicted for months before the draft that the Cardinals would select quarterback Kyler Murray first overall. It was a move few could have envisioned one year ago, but an almost necessary one after the team named Kliff Kingsbury its head coach.
”It seemed like they were all over the board with convoluted moves, but there is a connection with the quarterback and the offensive guru and the system,” a former general manager said. “It has a chance now, whereas before the draft, I would have said, ‘No way.’”
The decision to make another coaching change without overhauling the front office means the Cardinals’ first-year head coach inherits a seventh-year GM (Steve Keim) who has a winning record (52-43-1) but could be on less stable ground after three straight non-winning seasons and a 2018 DUI conviction.
”Wouldn’t it be interesting if they had a new GM with Kingsbury and Murray?” an exec asked. “Maybe they do different things rather than signing all these old guys who have been cut.”
Brooks Reed, 32, and Robert Alford, 30, were older cut players signed by Arizona before free agency opened. Other veteran additions included Terrell Suggs (36), Charles Clay (30) and J.R. Sweezy (30).
This is something that has been discussed quite a bit among fans... Why did Steve Keim get to rebuild again? The odd mix again of old vets who may not have it and young guys who need time could be a recipe for... well something.
”I probably would have gone young with Kyler Murray,” an evaluator said. “If they start poorly and it looks like they’re going to miss the playoffs, what does a young coach say to Terrell Suggs?”
While execs generally did not like the way Arizona rushed out to sign recently cut players such as Alford, the Cardinals’ roster could have been barren enough to justify such an approach.
That is the thing, the Cardinals roster was basically empty, so they had to sign some players. The question of who they signed makes sense, but we also have to remember that they had a ton of holes and despite having money, they did not have a ton of money because they had to sign so many players.
”Whether you liked Kingsbury or not -- and I am a fan -- they went out and got him a team that he could succeed with,” an exec said. “Even the veterans they signed, OK, they were trying to get some depth and eliminate some holes before the draft. Maybe they are not great, but you can at least line up and play with them. I get their strategy. And this coach, more than their last one, gives them a clear identity to build around.”
That is the key. Whether the identity is a good one, that remains to be seen, but there is little question they have an identity now, something they sorely lacked under Steve Wilks.
What grade would you give the Arizona Cardinals?