The Cardinals had one of their busiest offseasons in recent memory. Among their transactions, they hired a new general manager, hired a new head coach, and traded for a new quarterback. It will take a few years to fairly assess whether these moves resulted in success, but here are some initial grades regarding the Cardinals offseason.
Hiring Steve Keim: Grade A-
Steve Keim received a much deserved promotion this offseason. As vice president of player personal Keim has evaluated and drafted a lot of the young talent on the current Cardinals roster. In fact, if the Cardinals had listened solely to Keim they would have drafted Adrian Peterson and Jay Cutler rather than Levi Brown and Matt Leinart. Of course not all of the Cardinals draft picks have worked out, but fans have to be excited for a new general manager with the eye for talent Keim possesses.
Hiring Bruce Arians: Grade B+
Not many teams get to bring in the reigning coach of the year, but that is exactly what the Cardinals have done. Arians proved himself last year, leading the Indianapolis Colts to nine wins while head coach Chuck Pagano recovered from Leukemia. Arians is known as an offensive coach that likes to stretch the defense by throwing deep passes, and Larry Fitzgerald is a perfect weapon for his offensive scheme. The Cardinals needed a change in the front office and on the field. Hiring Arians will prove to be an upgrade over Ken Whisenhunt.
Trading for Carson Palmer: Grade B
The Cardinals traded a bag footballs and a Larry Fitzgerald rookie card for Carson Palmer this past offseason. Okay, they traded a seventh round pick, but that isn’t much to give up for a former pro bowl quarterback. Palmer looks like a hall- of- famer when compared to the Cardinals quarterbacks that played under center last year. The upgrade of Palmer at quarterback will result in a more exciting team to watch this year and a few more wins.
The Cardinals draft provided fans with a better idea of the general manager they have in Keim. The Cardinals found impact players in the first three rounds in offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, inside linebacker Kevin Minter, and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Each will be competing for a starting position in training camp. The rest of the draft added depth at key positions, but the Cardinals should have done better homework on wide receiver Ryan Swope. Swope has missed the offseason workouts due to concussion problems that were present at the end of his college career at Texas A&M.