There is always that ONE TEAM that seems to surprise each season. This year, it’s the Minnesota Vikings. In 2023, it might be the Arizona Cardinals.
It’s no secret the Arizona Cardinals are one of the league’s worst teams. But they are also in a better situation than many think. In fact, when you look at the talent on the roster, the Redbirds are one of those cases where they are better than their 4-10 record.
So yeah, this season was a definite downer. But given the talent on the roster and potential change at general manager and by extension, head coach, the Cardinals are in position to turn the tide as early as 2023. Here are three reasons why.
1 – Arizona Cardinals have a top 15 quarterback
Listen, Kyler Murray was terrible this season, and his spats on the sidelines and responses to critics with words didn’t help. But he is still a top 15 quarterback who can thrive if paired with the right head coach, hopefully one who can take advantage of his ability as a dual threat quarterback.
Surrounding Murray, we got Zach Ertz, DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, and given his recent production, Trey McBride. While I said the Cardinals would benefit from trading Hopkins, intuition says he stays in the desert. And Murray is always a better quarterback with Hopkins in the lineup.
2 – Cardinals defense will get better
Here are a few names that will be back in 2023, and another two who we are projecting will return:
- Zach Allen*
- Byron Murphy*
- Isaiah Simmons
- Zaven Collins
- Marco Wilson
- Budda Baker
- Jalen Thompson
That’s seven key players right there. If the Cardinals finish 4-13 or even 5-12, it will be “good” enough for a top five pick. That’s one pick they can use on a marquee edge rusher, or perhaps a corner. If they can re-sign J.J. Watt, then odds are, they will get a corner.
Either way, the Cardinals, if they also re-sign Allen and Murphy, will have one of the better young core defenses in football. And if they add to that via the NFL Draft, their defense will fare even better.
3 – The NFC West
The Los Angeles Rams are a wreck, the Seattle Seahawks are falling back to Earth, and the San Francisco 49ers could be in the midst of a self-destructive quarterback controversy. Sure, the Arizona Cardinals have their own issues, but it’s not like they’re too far behind their NFC West sisters.
That said, if the Cardinals hit hard on getting the proper coach for Murray and realize that their defense is only a few solid pieces away from being a top 15 unit, they can contend for an NFC West title in 2023.
Sure, I did say they need to embark on a (near) complete rebuild. But that’s the keyword phrase: Near Complete Rebuild. The Cardinals don’t need to tear everything down here; they need to get rid of most of their over 30 players with Watt as a prospective outlier, and get younger on both sides of the ball.
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