Arizona Cardinals owner wise not to give up picks for Payton

Michael Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals owner, speaks during a news conference for the winning coach and
Michael Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals owner, speaks during a news conference for the winning coach and / Antranik Tavitian/The Republic / USA

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill knew his team could not afford to give up so much draft compensation for Sean Payton. And it was a wise move.

As more information becomes available pertaining to certain issues, it's amazing how much things change. Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, long-maligned for making head-scratching decisions, made the right call along with general manager Monti Ossenfort regarding Sean Payton.

Initially, one could make the argument the Cards lost out on the Sean Payton sweepstakes, only for new information emerging that Bidwill did not want to part ways with high draft picks the New Orleans Saints wanted. To put things into perspective, the Denver Broncos gave up a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2024 second-round pick to land Payton.

The difference? Denver had the 29th overall pick as opposed to the Cardinals having the third overall pick. Had Arizona parted ways with the pick, they would have had only four in the 2023 NFL Draft. Not the ideal situation you're looking for with a roster full of holes.

Arizona Cardinals owner smart not to part ways with the third pick

Given his constant vetting of draft picks, former general manager Steve Keim probably wouldn't have had an issue trading the third selection for the 59-year-old Payton, even if NFL history is not on his side. To date, no coach in the game's history has won a Super Bowl with two different franchises, so that alone tells us hiring Payton would have been a gamble.

Instead, the gig went to Jonathan Gannon, who improved the Philadelphia Eagles defense in each of the previous two seasons. In 2022, the Eagles boasted one of the NFL's premier defensive units, and with former linebackers coach Nick Rallis coming to town to help run things, you may see a quick turnaround from Arizona.

If Zach Allen and Byron Murphy return to the desert, they will re-join a defense that includes plenty of talent at linebacker and in the secondary. With a defensive mind like Gannon running the show, the Redbirds can keep and spend that third overall pick on someone like Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr.

And that could, in hindsight, set the Cards to go farther than what Payton could have brought. Sure, the former Saints coach has experience and a Lombardi Trophy. But at the expense of the third pick, bringing Payton to the desert just wasn't worth it.

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Source: Bidwill: Cardinals weren’t willing to part with draft picks for Sean Payton by Tyler Drake,