It is once again a new era of Arizona Cardinals football, but maybe this time it will be different.
The Arizona Cardinals have a new general manager, a new head coach and a brand new coaching staff.
They also made huge moves in resetting the roster and eating a ton of negative salary cap in 2023 in preparation for 2024 and beyond. In doing so they are in a different spot for the first time in years, preparing.
Now, does that mean things are going to be different? We won’t know until we see where the rubber meets the road, but we do know how they are going about things is completely different.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 Arizona Cardinals.
Key Departures: J.J. Watt (retired), Zach Allen (signed with Denver Broncos), Byron Murphy (signed with Minnesota Vikings), Markus Golden (signed with Pittsburgh Steelers), Michael Dogbe (signed with Jacksonville Jaguars) Robbie Anderson (signed with Miami Dolphins) DeAndre Hopkins (released and signed with Tennessee Titans)
If you look at the key departures for the Arizona Cardinals, the reality is that the team is losing a lot of key pieces, but they were key pieces on a terrible roster and terrible defensive unit.
So, are the losses outside of the names that important? It is likely we will see players like Allen and Murphy take the next step as contributors as opposed to the key pieces of a defense, but are the losses that big for a team that finished 31st in scoring defense, or was it simply they needed a refresh in defensive philosophy? On offense, there won’t be much in the way of turnover, outside of losing DeAndre Hopkins, who has played in 19 games over the last two seasons, had 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns in those two years.
So, the turnovers are big names, but were they big impacts?
Key Additions: Kyzir White (signed from Philadelphia Eagles), Carlos Watkins (signed from Dallas Cowboys), L.J. Collier (signed from Seattle Seahawks), Matt Haack (signed from Indianapolis Colts), Hjalte Froholdt (signed from Cleveland Browns), Zach Pascal (signed from Indianapolis Colts), Dennis Daley (signed from Tennessee Titans) Elijah Wilkinson (signed from Atlanta Falcons), Krys Barnes (signed from Green Bay Packers), Josh Woods (signed from Detroit Lions).
Look at the key additions and they don’t necessarily match up with the departures, but instead they match up with what we are expecting to see in terms of roster building in the coming seasons for the Arizona Cardinals. Also, that brings us to the biggest changes.
New GM: Steve Keim (stepped down from position), Monti Ossenfort (Signed from Tennessee Titans)
Ossenfort was the first big move of the offseason for the Arizona Cardinals and was signed to be GM, a huge departure from the organization who had not signed a general manager from outside of the organization since Buddy Ryan. While Denny Green had a lot of input into what the moves were, Ossenfort is really the first new guy in 30 years.
Ossenfort set out to add his own head coach, someone who would fit his vision and create the culture he was looking for, and from early on it was apparently Jonathan Gannon.
New Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (Fired), Jonathan Gannon (Hired after being Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator)
Gannon came sprinting into the position. Gannon has a completely different vibe than what Kliff Kingsbury was as a head coach. He is involved around the entire building, making sure the culture of trust and accountability is what is being preached and what is being implemented.
2023 NFL Draft: Paris Johnson Jr. (Offensive Line), B.J. Ojulari (Edge), Garrett Williams (Cornerback), Michael Wilson (Wide receiver), Jon Gaines II (Offensive Line), Clayton Tune (Quarterback), Owen Pappoe (Linebacker), Kei’Trel Clark (Cornerback), Dante Stills (Defensive Line)
The 2023 NFL Draft class offers a lot of talent at premium positions. The Cardinals invested heavily along the front lines on offense and defense, with some intriguing upside picks at wide receiver and cornerback.
What have all the 2023 offseason moves led to?
According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Arizona Cardinals opened the 2023 offseason with long odds of +1400 to win the NFC West. That line moved to +2200 after free agency got underway, and has since moved to +2000 to win the division.
However, to make the playoffs their odds sit at +1100 — the longest odds in the NFL, but much shorter odds than winning the division.
It is going to be a really interesting 2023 season to see how the Arizona Cardinals start under Ossenfort and Gannon and if the culture is truly in a shift in a positive direction.