Many media figures chastised the Arizona Cardinals for doing little in the 2023 offseason. But per one analyst, they are among the most improved NFL teams.
The Arizona Cardinals offseason set the stage for success in the W’s and L’s column for 2024 and beyond, even if 2023 may inevitably be looked at as a building year. But that’s okay, since it will be more than exciting to watch this young football team grow together, even if a four-win season is realistic at this point.
So how good was the Cardinals offseason? Per ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, the Cardinals ranked 12th as the most improved team this year, debunking claims that this team has done little to make itself better in 2023.
But what motivated Barnwell to give the Redbirds such a high ranking? He cited the trying situation the Cardinals were already in following what was one of the worst seasons in recent memory, mainly, without name-dropping, pointing toward front office miscues perpetuated by none other than former general manager, Steve Keim.
That said, new general manager Monti Ossenfort swooped into the desert and cleaned out the roster, even going as far as to let key players like Byron Murphy Jr. and Zach Allen walk, and remove the distraction that was DeAndre Hopkins.
Barnwell further pointed to Ossenfort’s ability to not only win the 2023 NFL Draft, but to also make all the right moves to set the stage for what will be an even better 2024 Draft. At this point, the W’s and L’s don’t matter for developing teams like the Cards or the Houston Texans, whose first round pick “Big Red” now possesses.
Impeccable foresight from Ossenfort made the Arizona Cardinals offseason
Finally, Barnwell pointed out Ossenfort’s moves along the offensive line. He added enough names through the draft and free agency that, even if injuries ravage the unit again in 2023, don’t expect them to become a patchwork group. Even those providing backup duty are capable of at least spot starting.
Of course, Barnwell also ranked the Cards 12th, two spots out of the top ten. So the offseason wasn’t perfect. He docked points on the Arizona Cardinals for their failure to trade Hopkins as opposed to settling for his release.
But really, other than that, it’s clear the respected analyst was beyond impressed with the moves Ossenfort made. And while we can concede that the 2023 Cardinals may not win often and that it would take nothing short of a miracle for them to make the playoffs, it’s reassuring to know Ossenfort set the foundation for a bright, bright future.
Source: Ranking best, worst 2023 NFL offseasons: Which teams improved? by Bill Barnwell, ESPN.com