Background: Oct 17, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws as Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) moves in during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez
Reportedly, Broncos’ edge rusher Bradley Chubb (5.5 sacks, 26 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles) has suitors who have already offered at least one 1st round pick in a trade package offer. One can imagine that Steve Keim is one of those suitors. Would the Cardinals be willing to go as far as adding a 2023 3rd rounder or a 2024 2nd rounder? —- Or maybe even both?.
Such a package might be enough to woo the Broncos into make the deal —- or it might be trumped by a higher bidder —- or the Broncos could choose to keep Chubb and sign him to a long term extension.
One of the reasons why the Broncos might be willing to trade Bradley Chubb is they have Randy Gregory (87.4) on one edge and they very much like what they see in Baron Browning (70.7) on the other edge.
If the Cardinals among to pull off the Chubb trade, GM Steve Keim will be hailed once again as a masterful trader.
However, when one peels off the layers of the onion that has led the Cardinals feeling the need to give up the significant draft capital in order to acquire the young, prolific pass rusher, a trade like this would be yet another cover-up for Steve Keim’s redundant draft shortcomings, as well as his questionable decision-making when it comes to re-signing players.
Keim’s Recent Edge Rusher Decisions:
- Lets Markus Golden walk in 2019 free agency.
- Signs Terrell Suggs in 2019 instead.
- Cuts Suggs during the 2019 season.
- Declines Haason Reddick’s 5th year option for the 2021 season.
- Signs Devon Kennard to a 3 year $21M contract in 2020.
- Starts Kennard ahead of Haason Reddick.
- Trades a 2021 6th round pick for Markus Golden in 2020.
- Lets Haason Reddick walk in 2021 free agency.
- Keeps a disgruntled Chandler Jones (who asked to be traded) and elects to pick up his 2021 $15.5M base salary (not a penny of of which was guaranteed).
- Keeps an under-achieving Devon Kennard over Haason Reddick.
- Drafts Victor Dimukeje (Duke) in Round 6 of the 2021 draft.
- Re-signs Markus Golden to a contract extension through the 2023 season.
- Re-signs Dennis Gardeck to a 3 year $10M contract extension through the 2024 season.
- Drafts Cameron Thomas (San Diego St.) in Round 3 of the 2022 draft.
- Drafts Myjai Sanders (Cincinnati) in Round 3 of the 2022 draft.
- Drafts Jesse Luketa (Penn St.) in Round 6 of the 2022 draft.
Cardinals Edge Rusher sack numbers through 8 games:
- Markus Golden —- 1
- Dennis Gardeck —- 1
- Cameron Thomas —- 1
- Myjai Sanders —- 1
- Devon Kennard —- 0
- Victor Dimukeje —- 0
- Jesse Luketa —- 0
- Haason Reddick through 7 games: 5.5
- Bradley Chubb through 7 games: 5.5
Miscast as 34 OLBs:
Compounding Steve Keim’s struggles in acquiring and/or holding onto edge rushing talent is the on-going question of how well suited the players are to playing the 34 outside linebacker position.
The only edge player on the current roster who has the requisite speed and agility to maintain contain, hold up in pass coverage and apply consistent pressure on the QB is Dennis Gardeck.
One would think that after all these years of running a base 34 defense that Steve Keim would know what the 34 OLB prototypes look like. He never has and apparently, he never will. The one player who fit the 34 OLB mold to a tee was Haason Reddick, who was miscast for 2 1⁄2 years as a 34 ILB ,and even after he thrived in the OLB role in 2020, that was not good enough for Keim.
Bradley Chubb plays in the Broncos’ version of the 34 as their SOLB. However, this year in 41 pass overage snaps his PFF pass coverage grade is 37.3. His run defense and pass rush grades are excellent at 76.6 and 79.2 respectively. His tackling grade is 46.7 by virtue of having a 22% missed tackle rate (21 combined tackles with 6 missed tackles).
The question is —isn’t Bradley Chub. at 6-4, 275 with 4.65 speed, a far better fit as a 4-3 DE?
One could readily argue that the Cardinals’ current personnel is much better suited for the 4-3, not the 3-4.
The Better 34 OLB Fit: (If he could be acquired at a similar price): Josh Allen (JAC): 83.9.
Carousel at Center:
On the other side of the ball, what rivals the Cardinals’ revolving door at 34 OLB is the carousel at the center position.
Draft picks: Evan Boehm (Round 4), Mason Cole (Round 3), Lamont Gaiilard (Round 6), Michel meant (Round 7), Lecitus Smith (Round 6).
UFAs: A.Q. Shipley, Max Garcia, Sean Harlow, Billy Price
Trade: Rodney Hudson for a 2021 Round 3 pick, re-signed to 3 year $30M contract.
Rodney Hudson PFF grades:
- 2021: (missed 5 games) 60.9 (#43 C)
- 2022: (missed 4 games, will be 5 this week): 59.5 (#29 C)
- Billy Price (2 games): 52.5 (#44)
- Backups: Lecitus Smith 54.3 (8 snaps), Sean Harlow: 42.8 (223 snaps)
By Comparison —-Mason Cole (PIT): 64.1 (#18 C)
GMs cannot keep circling the wagons at certain positions the way Steve Keim has at OLB and C and expect to build a championship caliber roster.
The question is —- let’s suppose that it would take giving up the team’s 1st round and 3rd round picks to acquire Bradley Chubb —- is it better to make the deal, give up the draft capital and try to re-sign Chubb to a long-term extension (which likely falls into Bosa’s #2 pay slot):
2. Joey Bosa, Chargers: $27 million ($135 million over 5 years)?
Or —- hold on to the draft picks and hope that Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders develop enough this season to give the team confidence in their edge rushing talent moving forward?
Or —- would you rather see the Cardinals give up their 2023 1st + 3rd picks for Josh Allen?
You make the call.