Cardinals need to admit that Jordan Phillips was a mistake

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Jordan Phillips
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Jordan Phillips /

The $30 million free-agent acquisition has been a total disappointment for an Arizona Cardinals club that signed him in 2020.

The Arizona Cardinals thought they were getting a steal last year when they signed Jordan Phillips to a free-agent contract.

In 2019, the defensive end racked up 31 tackles and an impressive 9.5 sacks for the Buffalo Bills. The Cards were thrilled to welcome Phillips to the desert, as evidenced by the three-year, $30 million deal they handed the former Miami Dolphins draft pick.

Now, 18 months after the acquisition, the suddenly injury-prone Phillips is looking like a complete bust. Arizona placed the 28-year-old on the injured-reserve list this past Thursday, but they failed to announce the reason for Phillips’ latest setback. The move came just three days after the club activated the 6-foot-6, 341-pounder off of the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Phillips will miss the Cardinals‘ first two regular-season matchups and the Week 3 clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars as well. The absence in September will basically be par for the course for Phillips, who’s been an utter disappointment since he joined the Redbirds back in March of 2020.

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Last fall, a hamstring injury limited Phillips to just nine appearances for the Cards. Even when healthy, the former second-round draft choice’s production during those games failed to meet the expectations of the franchise. Phillips totaled a measly 11 tackles and two sacks for an Arizona defense that was hoping for a whole lot more.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was obviously banking on a bounceback performance from Phillips in 2021. That could still happen, although the former University of Oklahoma product’s campaign is not off to a promising start. Would it behoove the organization to simply move on from Phillips and recoup some of the millions they’re scheduled to pay him over the next two years?

From a financial standpoint, it would make more sense for the Cards to part ways with Phillips in 2022. Doing so this season would leave $14.5 million in dead salary-cap money, while next year, that figure will drop to a much more economical $4 million in dead cash.

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Perhaps Phillips will return in week four and give Arizona’s front office some bang for their buck. Until that happens, however, the Kansas native will be looked at as nothing more than a costly free agent blunder by general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts.