Arizona Cardinals fans shouldn’t be lamenting Isaiah Simmons trade

Through seven weeks, the former Arizona Cardinals linebacker/safety has been far from a preseason steal for the New York Giants.
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Remember how polarizing the Isaiah Simmons trade was a mere two months ago when Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort sent him to New York for a seventh-round pick? Right now, it looks like a seventh is all the Redbirds former eighth-overall pick is worth, given the way he’s played in the first seven games of the season. 

To Simmons’ credit, his PFF Grade of 63.0 isn’t that bad, and it ranks 50th out of 82 qualified EDGE rushers, which is his listed position on the platform. However, his run defense and pass rush grades stand at 59.4 and 47.7, respectively, so his coverage grade of 69.3 is the only variable keeping his numbers afloat. 

He also has just 25 total tackles, 10 stops, five missed tackles, zero sacks, and zero forced fumbles. While his coverage grade is solid, he is also allowing a 102.5 passer rating, and most of his snaps (86) have occurred in coverage. So while he’s winning battles, given the rather solid grade, he’s also getting beaten when the ball is thrown in his direction. 

Arizona Cardinals fans should be cool with Simmons trade in hindsight

Since Ossenfort only got a seventh-rounder for Simmons, he can’t claim victory in this trade unless he drafts a steal in the final round assuming he holds onto the pick. However, it’s also hard to say the Giants have jumped out to a commanding lead in this preseason trade. 

Pro-Football-Reference has Simmons allowing a passer rating of 95.8, lower than what PFF is saying, but it’s not a great look nonetheless. He has also allowed 10 completions on 12 targets, and 7.0 yards per target, the second-highest mark of his career. His 8.4 yards per completion allowed is the only thing he has going for him, as it is a career-low.

They also clocked in his missed tackle rate at 14.8 percent, which again is lower than the number you will get at PFF, but notoriously high nonetheless. Simmons’ ceiling, at this point, is that of a mid-tier role player, and he’s shown it throughout his first seven games in New York. Therefore, there is no need for Cardinals fans to put too much stock into this trade in hindsight. 


(Statistics and grades provided by PFF [subscription], additional grades provided by Pro-Football-Reference)