3 former Arizona Cardinals players we’re glad are gone, 2 we wish stayed

Taking a look at how Arizona's roster has changed over the past few years.
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After about 10 days of free agency, the initial waves of signings are starting to quiet down. It was a crazy first couple of days, and while the Cardinals didn't quite make as much noise as Arizona fans probably wanted them to, there's still plenty of time to shape the roster as the team looks to improve on a miserable 2023 season that saw them finish last in the NFC West and only win four games. (They did update their jerseys though! So it wasn't a total loss!)

In the second year under head coach Jonathan Gannon, there figure to be more growing pains. But over the last two offseasons, it's been clear that Gannon and GM Monti Ossenfort are focused on reshaping what was, for a while, one of the NFL's worst roster.

With the 4th overall pick in this year's Draft, the Cardinals may finally get the opportunity to give franchise QB Kyler Murray a young playmaker – although there's also plenty of work to be done on the offensive line, at linebacker, and in the secondary.

Taking a look back at how that reshaping has gone so far is a fun offseason project, though, and these are the three former Cardinals players we are glad found new teams, and the two we wish had stuck around.

3 former Arizona Cardinals players we’re glad are gone

1. Leki Fotu, DL

After four mostly unsuccessful seasons in Arizona, the Cardinals finally moved on from Fotu, who they originally drafted in the 4th round (114 overall) back in 2020. His final numbers with the Cardinals were rough: 21 starts in 56 games, 89 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and one fumble recovery. He never played more than 50% of defensive snaps in any of his four seasons, and while he did contribute some to special teams, his Pro Football Focus grades show a player that's probably replacement-level or worse.

Even the one-year, $2.5 million contract he signed with the Jets this offseason probably didn't make the Cardinals think twice about the decision to move on.

2. Byron Murhpy, CB

After an injury-shortened final season with the Cardinals, Murphy signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Vikings. And while he did play 14 games in Minnesota this season while setting a career-high in interceptions (3), the analytics weren't particularly kind to his season. According to PFF, Murphy had the worst overall season since his rookie year, particularly as a tackler and in coverage.

His missed tackle percentage almost tripled from the season before (though the small sample size may have something to do with that), and he allowed over 700 yards and six touchdowns on receptions where he was targeted. Cornerback seasons are especially hard to predict year-over-year, but it seems like the Cardinals may have called it here.