The Arizona Cardinals shocked the sports world by bringing in 5-time Pro Bowl Defensive End JJ Watt to a 2-year, $31 million deal. While this definitely improves the Cardinals Roster, this move actually brings even more questions to what was already a very intriguing offseason. One that was laden with holes in critical positions, the Cardinals just added a player (an obvious upgrade) that was not of actual need.
“Hold the Defensive Line!”
The most immediate question is, what about Markus Golden and Haason Reddick? Both players proved to be vital assets of the team later in the year with Chandler Jones going on IR. Reddick, having his best year by far totaling 12.5 sacks on the year, will demand a sizable pay increase in the open market.
But isn’t more always better? IF Steve Keim can find some way to retain Reddick and/or Golden, the Cardinals would have the most depth, speed, and “scare factor” in the entire league. It would have to take some serious contract renegotiations and cuts, but championship teams are built in the trenches. A sure improbability, but they say dreaming is free!
Not to mention, Watt’s injury history may require an “insurance policy”.
Even before the Cardinals take my advice on beefing up the defensive line, there are going to be sure departures on this roster due to the signing of JJ Watt. Here’s what the Cardinals should do.
Leaving in Free Agency
- Corey Peters: First and most notably will be Corey Peters. Starting to show some age and durability questions, it is best to let him walk in free agency and use that money elsewhere.
- De’Vondre Campbell: Campbell had a solid outing this year for the Cardinals but with the emergence of Rookie Isaiah Simmons, it makes more sense to use Simmons rookie contract to the teams’ benefit.
- All secondary players not named Patrick Peterson: Looking at you Chris Banjo, Dre Kirkpatrick, Jonathon Joseph, Charles Washington, and Kevin Peterson. At one point or another, fans have cursed these names amongst the message boards.
- Special Teams: Andy Lee will be turning 40 this year, you have to wonder how much more that leg has left. Zane Gonzalez, a slump of a year, I really believe they are going to be looking to replace him elsewhere. Unfortunately, you need every point you can get.
- Robert Alford: Alford just has not been able to get onto the field the past two years and availability is the most valuable asset in the NFL.
- Jordan Hicks: Hicks has been a good cog in the run game for the Cardinals. However, he has proven to be a large liability in the passing game.
- Devon Kennard: Underperformed his expectations this year, would be a tough cut but the money is needed elsewhere.
- Max Williams: I think the Cardinals are in more favor of Dan Arnold offensively and will look to add another TE in the draft.
Bringing in JJ Watt is not a “building” kind of move. It’s a win-now move. The Cardinals want to win NOW. You don’t let Patrick Peterson walk if you want to win now. You “cut the fat”, and bring in veterans who are ready for a push. These moves get you there, and it’s all thanks to Bill O’Brien.