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Bold strategy: Actually daring moves for the Cardinals this offseason

A recent ESPN piece on “daring” offseason moves proved underwhelming when it came to the Cardinals. Here are a few actually bold moves the team could make.

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
Future HOFer J.J. Watt is a free agent and would be a bold acquisition for the Cardinals.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Yesterday, I came across this ESPN+ piece about “daring” moves for each NFL team. I was intrigued to see what kind of bold move they had in mind for the Cardinals.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw this:

Say what? I’m sorry, but bringing back two of our own free agents hardly counts as “daring.” If this is the splashiest move GM Steve Keim can come up with this offseason, it’s going to be a long summer for Cardinals fans.

But the article did spur me to think about what kind of bold moves the team actually could make. Here’s a quick list of five I came up with off the top of my head.

Nab another elite receiver to pair with DeAndre Hopkins.

Keim made the boldest move he’s perhaps ever made last offseason with the trade for Hopkins. What if he doubled down this offseason? There are several elite WRs available: Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster. In fact, Bleacher Report already posited that the Redbirds could make a play for Robinson. Acquiring another big-name WR probably doesn’t make sense from a salary cap perspective given other needs on the roster, but it would fill a need and generate even more excitement around the team heading into next season—and potentially make Kyler Murray a top contender for league MVP.

Invest in a marquee tight end.

Or what if instead of bringing in another WR, the team invested in a long-neglected position: tight end? The duo of Dan Arnold and Maxx Williams was serviceable last season, but the position has never been a priority since the Cardinals first came to the desert. What if the team changed that this offseason? There’s one big name available via free agency—Hunter Henry—as well as a few intriguing mid-tier names (Jonnu Smith, Gerald Everett, Jared Cook). Or they could go the draft route if elite prospect Kyle Pitts falls to them at #16. His size and athleticism has scouts drooling. A marquee TE could add another dimension to the offense—a dimension the team has arguably never had.

Trade the #16 pick for a veteran.

Speaking of the #16 pick, much of the next several weeks will be spent debating what player the Redbirds should draft with their 1st-rounder. But what if the team didn’t draft a player at all and instead traded the pick for an instant-impact veteran? The Robinson trade scenario mentioned above involved the #16 pick. And Blake Murphy previously explore potentially trading the pick for cornerback help, such as the Saints’ Marshon Lattimore. I’d certainly be open to a move like that. If the team believes its Super Bowl window is open with Kyler still on his rookie deal, wouldn’t it make sense to consider moving a pick in the middle of the 1st round for a player who can help now? I hope Keim is listening to any and all offers.

Trade Chandler Jones.

Now THIS would be a bold move. Although Jones missed most of last season with a biceps injury, he was a DPOY contender the two season prior and has racked up 60 sacks in his four complete seasons as a Cardinal. But he’s also almost 31 and might not be the same impact pass rusher coming off the injury. And there’s also the financial aspect to consider: Jones is in the last year of his deal, scheduled to earn about $21M this season. And what will his next contract look like? If the Cardinals were to release or trade him this offseason, they could save $15M against the cap… money that theoretically the team could use to re-sign his potential replacement, Haason Reddick. Could the Cardinals get a 1st-rounder for Jones? Even if it’s just a 2nd-rounder, it might be worth exploring.

Sign J.J. Watt.

There is another aging pass rusher the team could consider bringing in: Hopkins’s former Texans teammate, J.J. Watt. Watt is probably chasing a Super Bowl ring at this point, so he might be willing to take a discount, especially to be reunited with Hopkins on a team with a dynamic young QB. Of course, there are several teams likely closer to a Super Bowl than the Cardinals, but D-line is a huge need, so Keim needs to at least do his due diligence on Watt. He’s probably past his peak a bit as a player, but he’s far from cooked and would bring irreplaceable leadership and locker room credentials to a team that might have something of a leadership void if Larry Fitzgerald retires and Patrick Peterson doesn’t come back. That alone makes this move worth considering.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of these bold moves, Birdgang? Got any of your own to offer? Let’s get bold in the comments.