Should the Arizona Cardinals trade for an available defensive star?
Trade rumors and disgruntled stars alike dominate the NFL off-season. The Arizona Cardinals are not new to this notion. One of their own, star cornerback Patrick Peterson, has been subject to trade rumors and has fueled them with dramatic antics throughout the 2019 off-season.
But, this isn’t about Peterson. Instead, it’s about the team’s potential to trade for a defensive star. Before getting into why the Cards should or shouldn’t do so, let’s look at the crop of defensive talent that could be out of their respective cities.
- Jadeveon Clowney. The Houston Texans star edge rusher was given the franchise tag. But, he never signed it. From my sources in Houston, I’ve heard rumblings from the team about a potential trade. As of now, he still wants to get paid and is very much available.
- Leonard Williams. The New York Jets are in shambles after firing their general manager. Interm GM Adam Gase has proposed some bold moves for the team, and one, according to some sources, is trading young, Pro Bowler Williams.
- Solomon Thomas. The San Francisco 49ers have been busy rebuilding their defense. They brought over Dee Ford in a trade and drafted Nick Bosa. The team now has a stacked front-seven, which may mean a potential departure from the former No. 2 overall pick.
- Chris Harris. The Denver Broncos added Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan to the mix in the off-season. Both were paid well and are redundant with Harris’ skill-set. Because of this, the cornerback has asked for a trade out if he doesn’t get a mega-deal from the team.
These four defenders are potentially game-changing talents that very well could be on the trade block. But for the Cardinals, only two make sense; Clowney and Williams. Though Thomas and Harris are outstanding players in their own rights, the Cardinals shouldn’t have interest due to their lack of willingness to trade with division rivals and abundance of defensive back talent.
But, the Cardinals shouldn’t trade for either, even though both would put their front-seven grouping over the top. Although Steve Keim and Co. would appreciate their services, their contracts and trade value are too costly for the Cardinals’ blood.
Currently, the Cardinals are sitting at $6.5 million in available cap space. Clowney is looking for a deal upwards of $21 million per year, though the Redbirds can afford that price later, they can’t do so now.
The same can be said for Williams. Though he’ll be making around $14.5 million in ’19; substantially cheaper than Clowney, the team cannot afford that price. In order to open up cap space for either, the Cardinals would likely have to make significant cuts or include a star in a track package.
As for trade value, each team will likely demand fair compensation for their defensive stalwarts. Although the Cardinals could pay their pricey demands, the team will probably be looking to solidify their offensive line in next year’s draft. If they trade a first, that will be much harder to accomplish.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals on-field product would likely be better with Clowney or Williams in-fold. But, after making several additions to their defense, the team is already expected to make a jump in level of play next year. Factoring in the cost to acquire a defensive star simply makes a blockbuster trade for the Cardinals illogical.