After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
And to finish the series, I’ll be talking some Arizona Cardinals, which fits quite nicely as in just a few hours time, they’ll be on the clock in the NFL draft…
How Did Last Season Go?
In a word: Miserably.
3-13 isn’t what Steve Wilkes set out for in his first Head Coaching role and ultimately, the Cardinals were that bad, he is now a defensive coordinator of the Browns. One and done as a first time HC, usually means you struggle to get another job.
One man who probably shouldn’t but probably will get another job in the league is Mike McCoy, who was the offensive coordinator, for a few weeks at least, in Arizona last year.
People gave and still give, rookie QB Josh Rosen a hard time for his play last year but he wasn’t exactly dealt a great hand… Rookie, defensive minded HC, awful OC, woeful offensive line and barely any help on offense.
3 wins were the only bright spots, oddly, including a double over San Francisco and a win in Green Bay which was the final straw for their top brass and they fired Mike McCarthy shortly afterwards.
These wins were broken up with regular blowout losses.
Cap space: $18m
Draft picks (10): Round 1, 1st overall, round 2, 33rd overall, round 3, 65th overall, round 4, 103rd overall, round 5, 139th overall, round 6, 174th & 179th overall & round 7, 248th, 249th & 254th overall.
Not a great deal to speak of really here. Which for a team that finished 3-13 is sort of bizarre… But free safety, Tre Boston is the most notable loss to free agency whio remains unsigned.
Deone Bucannon, Mike Iupati, Markus Golden and veteran kicker, Phil Dawson have also departed.
I guess the biggest outgoing could yet be on the way… I get the feeling that the Cardinals are playing a game of who blinks first with potential trade partners for Josh Rosen. At the time of writing, he is still and Arizona Cardinal but make no mistake, if that’s still the case once they draft Kyler Murray (I’ve long been in the camp that they will), Rosen becomes worthless, so expect movement on that front.
So the big incomings are yet to come this weekend in the draft, whether that be Kyler Murray or someone else with the first overall pick, which will be followed by high picks in each of the following rounds and 4 picks in the top 104. These players will hopefully become vital building blocks for the Cardinals in future.
Talking of building blocks, there’s a young and fresh faced head coach in town now in the form of Kliff Kingsbury. Sorry USC fans…
Kingsbury, who is a friend of Sean McVay, I don’t know whether you heard, is now running the show in the desert.
Anyway, back to players…
The Cards went out and spent some money in free agency but unlike what you’d expect from a team in rebuild, it get spent on veterans, rather than young talent that they can improve themselves. Players such as Jordan Hicks, Robert Alford and Terrell Suggs have joined. J.R Sweezy, Brooks Reed and Charles Clay also… Aside from Hicks, the youngest player on that list is 29 years old.
To me, it feels like the Cards are again overestimating themselves and underestimating how far behind they are and instead of blowing it all up and starting again, they’re patching things up and trying to win now. The only other explanation I have is that they are bringing in veterans to try to instill a culture in the locker room that has been missing.
Aside from the names mentioned above, I really like the signing of Darius Philon… As a Chargers fan I was sad to see him leave L.A. and I think he’ll be a great signing at a very fair price for Arizona.
Outlook For Next Year
Sorry Cards fans, look forward to the draft tonight and hope to God that you get some good players over the duration of this weekend, because you’re going to need them!
Another rookie head coach with another rookie QB (in my mind) or Josh Rosen in what you’d hope is a better situation than last year. It’s a bit of mystery on how that will play out.
The Cardinals have signed some nice veterans, mainly to the defense, as mentioned above but is that enough? Have those signings fortified that unit enough to mean that they’re going to keep the score low enough that Kingsbury and his offense can weave their magic? I’m not so sure.
At this point because I don’t know who the QB is or who the help is coming in via the draft. I’m having a hard time seeing this team replicate 3 wins. 2 of those wins were against an injury hit 49ers teams who, to me, should be much better next year.
Looking through the schedule, it’s looking pretty tough.
Sorry Cardinals, I’m going to say you guys go 2-14 next year.
Do you trust David Johnson? Larry Fitz as a big slot in addition to Johnson is your next best bet if you do trust Johnson.
Outside of that, Christian Kirk perhaps? Hmmm… Let’s see what this weekend brings.