The offseason is a time for teams to replenish and reload their rosters, to acquire and cut players and coaches, and to overall make themselves better for the upcoming season.
I believe the Arizona Cardinals have done that the best of any NFL team, in terms of all 3 stages of the offseason that exist pre-draft: trading for players, signing new players, and retaining old ones.
The Cardinals have done especially well in all three categories, so let’s take a look:
As far as trades go, you would have to be under a rock to have not heard about Arizona’s pick up for superstar wide receiver Deandre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. By doing so, not only did they fill arguably their biggest hole (an elite weapon for second-year quarterback Kyler Murray), they also offloaded their worst contract in aging running back David Johnson, who had a cap hit of $20.1 million, which the Texans took on.
All of this was done for a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder, and the Cardinals got arguably the best receiver in the world, along with a fourth-round pick.
Secondly, the Cardinals did a phenomenal job at signing free agents.
They filled 3 more holes in their defense, signing DT Jordan Phillips (4 year,$ 40 million, $2 million guaranteed 2020), OLB Devon Kennard (3 year, $17.5 million, 1 million guaranteed 2020), and ILB Devondre Campbell ( 1 year, $2 million with up to $ 8.5 million in incentives.)
Those players are all quality starters for the Cardinals, as Phillips recorded 9.5 sacks last season (T-2hd for DTs) Kennard added 9 sacks of his own, despite Detroit blitzing the least of any team, and Campbell had 129 tackles (12th).
These deals are also very team friendly, as the Cardinals backloaded these contracts so they won’t pay much until later seasons, when they have much more cap space.
Finally, the Cardinals accomplished a feat few others in the league can boast, by re-signing every one of their free-agent starters.
By re-signing LT DJ Humphries (3 year, $45 million), WR Larry Fitzgerald (1 year, $11 million) and RB Kenyan Drake (1 year, $8.43 million), they secure successful players who already know the system, something that will be especially important this season with the pandemic limiting teams offseason activities.
Throughout the 3 stages of the offseason so far, the Cardinals have done extraordinary. The Cardinals will look to carry this momentum from the early offseason into the draft (where they hold the #8 pick) and into mini camp (where they have 3 predicted starters returning from IR) to hopefully complete an extremely successful offseason, and establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with.
Photo: SB Nation