With the NFL draft now in the past, and free agent signings relatively wrapped up we are fast approaching the start of a new football season in a couple months. A lot of different moves have been made, and this is SONTLive writer Simon Villanoz evaluation of every team’s offseason as of now. A division will be evaluated every week and a team released one by one. Today we cover:
Josh Rosen (10)
Christian Kirk (47)
Mason Cole (97)
Chase Edmonds (134)
Chris Campbell (182)
Korey Cunningham (254)
Significant Undrafted Free Agents:
- Frank Ginda
- Elijah Battle
- Alec James
The Arizona Cardinals have officially hit the reset button after the retirement of Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians. Their 2017 season was very underwhelming, to say the least, with the season-ending injury of David Johnson early being the biggest reason. This next season probably won’t be impressive either. That’s okay though, it just means in a couple years the Cardinals will once again be a contender.
Their road to being contenders starts with their new head coach Steve Wilkes. He was the secondary coach with the Carolina Panthers, and he helps build the excellent defense that led them to Super Bowl 50. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with this Cardinals defense, considering they still have players like Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, Robert Nkemdiche, Haason Reddick, and Deone Bucannon. Nkemdiche and Reddick are both young players who can become impact players on that Cardinals defense soon. This next season may be their breakout season.
Another coach that the Cardinals hired that I like is their offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. I personally believe he’s a good coach, and he just had bad luck the past couple years. In his first year with the San Diego Chargers as head coach, he got the Chargers into the playoffs. In addition, he only lost by 7 in the divisional round to a Broncos team that won the Super Bowl. After that, the Chargers got hit with a hardcore version of the injury bug, that has hit them every season since. It’s hard to do well when they lose at least one or two good starters for the season. He was then hired by Denver after getting fired but would get fired after their offensive struggles. McCoy didn’t have a good quarterback or offensive line which is problematic. I think McCoy will have a lot of fun jump-starting this Cardinals offense that includes David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and now Josh Rosen.
Arizona lost a lot of players in free agency, but I give them a pass because they’re in rebuilding mode. It made no sense that they let go of Tyrann Mathieu because of money issues but gave Sam Bradford a ridiculous contract for somebody who can’t even play a full season. Bradford is the definition of injury prone yet they gave him a $40 million dollar contract. Keep in mind that only $10 million of that is guaranteed, and the only way he gets the rest of the money is if he plays. So the contract wasn’t terrible, but that $10 million guaranteed should’ve gone to Tyrann Mathieu. Although I give the Cardinals a pass, this free agency slammed them hard.
The draft was easily the highlight of their offseason. Josh Rosen, in my opinion, was easily the best quarterback and most pro-ready quarterback in this draft. Yet he dropped drastically, and three quarterbacks were taken in front of him with Baker Mayfield being the only one that even comes close to rivaling his skill set. Arizona had a combination of fate and luck when they traded up to take Josh Rosen at 10. Rosen will prove the Jets, Browns, and Bills wrong for not taking him. Yes, he did have attitude issues and slight injury issues (his frame isn’t ideal) but his talent outweighs all of that. I remember watching Josh Rosen since his freshman year at UCLA, and he was frequently compared to players like Peyton Manning. I definitely see the Manning comparison as he’s somebody who’s extremely intelligent and his old college coach says that he needs to be challenged intellectually on the pro level. Josh Rosen will become somebody that a lot of teams and fans will learn to hate. He’s both outspoken and extremely talented. I fully expect him to start this season because I think Sam Bradford will either suffer a season-ending injury, or he will simply outwork him.
Arizona also took Christian Kirk who will take over for Larry Fitzgerald one day. Kirk is an elusive receiver, who I think can make an impact on day one. He’s a playmaker as well, and learning from Larry Fitzgerald will only make him better. I already love the idea of a Cardinals offense led by the trio of Rosen, Johnson, and Kirk going into the future. Grabbing these two players in the draft alone already gives the Cardinals a good offseason. When all was said and done, I think the Cardinals had an excellent start to their rebuild.
Arizona Cardinals Grade: B+