Will the Arizona Cardinals pick up Isaiah Simmons’ fifth-year option?

Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Marlon Mack (37) runs the ball
Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Marlon Mack (37) runs the ball / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Simmons strung together a good season with the Arizona Cardinals after he got off to a rough start. Will they pick up his fifth-year option?

Arizona Cardinals star linebacker Isaiah Simmons put together two solid but unspectacular seasons. In 2021 and 2022, the versatile Simmons logged 204 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 8 quarterback hits, 5.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, and a defensive touchdown. 

Simmons made some serious splash plays, like his forced fumble in overtime that ultimately led to a win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2 and his pick six in Week 7 vs. the New Orleans Saints. But he rarely made tackles behind the line when at linebacker. And in coverage, he was even worse, having allowed a 77.1% completion percentage, 4 touchdowns, and a 104.3 quarterback rating in 2022. 

Are the Arizona Cardinals going to pick up Simmons’ fifth-year option?

While it’s great to have a player who can play multiple positions, it’s startling that Simmons, one of the most athletic players in the 2020 NFL Draft coming out of Clemson, has yet to solidify himself as an elite talent anywhere. Early in the 2022 season, former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph benched him, which added to the underachiever label. He also has just 37 regular season starts, which is another red flag. 

While his talent is undeniable, Simmons doesn’t deserve the fifth-year option at the moment. At least not with Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis installing a new system that he may or may not fit into. 

Simmons can definitely remain with the Arizona Cardinals long-term, but it would be more prudent to ensure he can at least produce in this system before the Cardinals decide to keep him around for another year. 

Overall, I would be surprised if they believed he was worth it. Let Simmons prove his worth this season. And if he looks good, sign him to an extension. If not, he can continue his career elsewhere. 

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Source: Cardinals Undecided on Isaiah Simmons' Future by Donnie Druin, SI.com

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)