Arizona Cardinals front office made this Christmas an awful one for fans

The Arizona Cardinals hierarchy waved the white flag on the season when they assembled the NFL's most undermanned roster in 2023.

Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears
Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Many followers of the Arizona Cardinals were filled with optimism when they tuned in to watch the team on Christmas Eve. After all, the 5-9 Chicago Bears aren't in possession of a whole lot of firepower. There was genuine hope that Redbirds quarterback Kyler Murray and company would leave the fans an early gift under the tree by defeating the talent-starved "Monsters of the Midway".

What viewers got instead was a less-than-inspiring effort from our beloved Cardinals. It seems as though a sizable amount of head coach Jonathan Gannon's players would've preferred to be home with their families on the holiday weekend. How else could you explain the fact that the Cards somehow found themselves down 21-0 early on against a mediocre group of Bears?

Things didn't get much better later on as Arizona ultimately limped to an embarrassing 27-16 loss in the "Windy City". After 15 games, the Cardinals record stands at a downright ugly 3-12. The Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks remain on the schedule, which essentially means that Gannon's crew will suffer two more defeats before the season mercifully concludes in a couple of weeks.

Arizona Cardinals ignored every high-priced free agent during the 2023 offseason

What many fail to realize is that things didn't have to be this bad with the Cards. General manager Monti Ossenfort took a pass on all of the higher-priced free agents, electing instead to bring in individuals who are more suited to be backups. Management would likely point to a lack of salary-cap space as a reason for the frugality, but there are several ways to circumvent the cap if a franchise really wants to compete.

Arizona's first-year regime would also likely focus on the fact that Murray, the two-time Pro Bowl signal-caller, was going to miss a significant part of the '23 campaign. That's all well and good, but Ossenfort could've acquired a much better fill-in for Murray than Josh Dobbs. Free agent passers such as Baker Mayfield, Gardner Minshew, Jacoby Brissett, and Drew Lock would've supplied the Cardinals with a much better chance of winning while Murray was sidelined.

The Cards wide receivers room has been especially pathetic this fall. Ossenfort cut the great DeAndre Hopkins back in May, mistakenly believing that Marquise Brown could cut it as a number-one wideout. Arizona's passing attack would've been much better off with Hopkins still in the fold, or even with free-agent options such as Jakobi Meyers, Adam Thielen, or Noah Brown being added to the mix.

Instead, the "Birdgang" was subjected to that depressing display versus Chicago. Enough with all of that "Cardinals are competitive in just about every game" hogwash. Long-suffering followers of the perennially losing franchise deserve a whole lot better than that.