Arizona Cardinals 2023 offseason was better than a D+

Arizona Cardinals Introduce Jonathan Gannon as Head Coach
Arizona Cardinals Introduce Jonathan Gannon as Head Coach / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals are a misunderstood franchise from a football standpoint, with many in the sports media wrongfully castigating their signings and hirings.

Different teams take different approaches, and for the Arizona Cardinals, new general manager Monti Ossenfort is taking the right approach by adding depth in free agency as he looks to build the bulk of this team through the NFL Draft. Sadly, you get way too many talking heads in the sports media judging teams more on picking up high-quality players via free agency or trades, and the Cards have seen plenty of criticism. 

Though when you read about their latest grade from Bleacher Report, it went far beyond judging the team for signing pedestrian players over the past month. Instead, they focused on DeAndre Hopkins’ trade rumors, the fact Budda Baker wants out of town, and they even castigated the Redbirds on hiring Jonathan Gannon over Lou Anarumo, basing their criticism regarding Gannon on two concepts. 

One criticism was the fact his defense “collapsed” in the Super Bowl. Okay, so Patrick Mahomes has caused just about the other 31 teams’ respective defenses to collapse at some point since he took over the starting job for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018, so that’s a rather weak argument. 

They also implied the only reason Gannon’s defense played so well stemmed from the fact it was a talent-laden unit. Okay, it definitely was. And while we’ve seen remarkable defenses come from nothing at various points in recent seasons, leading a unit to a high ranking regardless of how much talent it contains is no easy feat in the NFL. 

Every player is talented enough to play on football’s biggest stage, regardless of who they play for. And any honest coach would tell you that no matter who you are playing, there are no easy games in the league.

Arizona Cardinals offseason was far better than a D+

As for the Budda Baker Saga, why does this need to be a hindrance? Baker is a great player, but let’s refrain from judgment until the situation plays out. For all we know, Baker will be ready and raring to go come training camp in July, if not sooner. 

If the Cardinals end up trading him and they get at least a first round pick, then you can chalk that up as a pending, and not necessarily a bad grade. The only way the Cards flunk this exam is if they do nothing, and Baker sits out the entire season, potentially losing his value. 

Overall, the Cards hired a coach who was part of a team that played in the Super Bowl. Their general manager signed role players capable of filling roster spots while he takes his time to build through the NFL Draft, which is really the smartest thing he could have done to differentiate himself from his predecessor. 

And to be frank, a first year general manager and a first year head coach should be cracking under the dark cloud that’s only grown darker thanks to recent accusations against owner Michael Bidwill. They haven’t, and that should speak volumes about these two men and their ability to weather what’s only going to be a powerful storm in the coming months. 

Given the hand Ossenfort and Gannon were dealt, they’ve done a pretty good job in even convincing players to come to the desert despite the report card given to the organization earlier in the offseason. I won’t call it the best offseason of the 32 NFL franchises, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. 

Draft Talk. Cardinals could acquire an edge-rusher during third day of draft. dark

Source: Grading Every NFL Team's Offseason Before the 2023 Draft by Kristopher Knox,