The Arizona Cardinals are less than a month away from entering the offseason, so it’s time to start speculating on some offseason moves.
Sometimes, general managers and front office personnel make some of the most counterintuitive moves. For the Arizona Cardinals, two potential roster moves speak counterintuition more than any other, and it involves the following:
- Trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins
- Re-signing defensive end J.J. Watt
Logistically, this would not make sense. Why keep a 34-year-old past his prime and trade away a star receiver still in his prime? Well, all signs point to the Cardinals firing general manager Steve Keim. By extension, firing Keim also means head coach Kliff Kingsbury will be gone, as most general managers want to bring in their own coach.
This means, to some degree, you’re going to see a rebuild and perhaps a few head scratching moves. Not saying that the scenario laid out will occur. Odds are, it probably won’t. But it would make perfect sense if it did, despite the counterintuition.
Arizona Cardinals would get a ransom for Hopkins
Hopkins will be 31 next year, yet still firmly entrenched in his prime. Something he proved here in 2022. However, the Arizona Cardinals would most likely get at least one first round draft pick for him, if not two or even three. Especially if they find a trading partner that figures to be a contender (Dallas, maybe?).
New front offices and head coaches seek to bring in many of their own players, as opposed to the old guard. Given his age AND the fact he is still in his prime, it could make Hopkins a prime trade target that could alter the franchise. So why would they bother keeping a 34-year-old Watt around?
Watt would make a remarkable mentor
J.J. Watt is one of those players who fits any NFL roster. No, he isn’t the player he once was, but his numbers this season that include 9.5 sacks also show he’s not a pushover. He can join a championship-caliber roster, OR he can find a place on a roster in transition to mentor young players and help oversee said transition.
By trading Hopkins, the Cardinals are getting a ransom that will include at least a few early round picks to fill their roster holes. And given Rondale Moore’s, Marquise Brown’s, and recently even tight end Trey McBride’s emergence, losing Hopkins won’t be detrimental to the Cardinals – If they are willing to tailor the offense to better fit quarterback Kyler Murray.
On the flip side, Watt sticking around, even if the Cardinals need to pay a little more, gives the Cardinals at least an effective stopgap on the defensive line and one of the best leaders in the NFL. Watt would also establish a tone for what will most likely be a much younger Arizona Cardinals team next season.
If Hopkins brings in a Russell Wilson-like ransom (are you reading this, Jerry Jones?), then trading him should be a no brainer. Especially after we saw the results of the Wilson trade. And that’s why you trade star players when they hit the wrong side of 30.
I said the same thing once upon a time about Chandler Jones. Stressing the need to trade him away while he still had value while keeping Haason Reddick. Turns out, I was right in that regard, even if not everyone agreed.
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