Monday, November 28 2022

The Arizona Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons last year and were eliminated in the first round. It was the end of a tough conclusion to the year. They started the season 10-2 only to finish 11-6 and get blown out by the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams.

They set out this offseason trying to improve while bringing back their core players from last season.

How have they done? PFF gave offseason grades to all 32 NFL teams and the Cardinals got middling grades. They gave Arizona a C+ overall, with below-average marks for free agency and a B- for the draft,

The news that DeAndre Hopkins would be suspended six games due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) likely threw a wrench into the team’s offseason plans and may have precipitated the trade for Marquise Brown on draft night. A first-round pick — even a relatively low one — for Brown is pretty rich given the contract he will be demanding soon, but there is good logic to believe he will be a more impactful player in the desert than he was for Baltimore. Brown was a star in college with Kyler Murray as his quarterback, and Murray led the league in big-time throw rate last season (7.9%).

Most of the team’s focus in free agency was in re-signing its own players, though it failed to keep Chandler Jones — the team’s best pass-rusher. It’s also easy to criticize the money given to James Conner as a lapse in judgment. The year Conner just had is an argument against paying him, not one in support of the move.

In the draft, Trey McBride adds to an already well-stocked tight end room, and then the team set about adding pass-rushers that can help replace the production lost in Jones’ departure. Overall, Arizona may not have deteriorated over the offseason, but it likely didn’t get a whole lot better, either.

That last statement might be key. They were an 11-win playoff team and would have been better were it not for injuries to J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, Marco Wilson and Robert Alford.

They didn’t really need to get a whole lot better.

For Cardinals fans, the offseason has not been eventful. That doesn’t mean is has been a failure.

List

Player bios for the Cardinals’ undrafted rookies, tryout signings

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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