Arizona Cardinals could look to swap linebackers with AFC North franchise
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals could look into the possibility of trading Isaiah Simmons for another fourth-year linebacker.
Three years have passed since the Arizona Cardinals selected linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the eighth-overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The organization was thrilled to be landing such a talented prospect at the time, but things have not worked out as expected. Former Cards defensive coordinator Vance Joseph never really figured out a role for the versatile player, and Simmons has suffered because of it.
There's a new defense being installed in Arizona these days, thanks to the hiring of new head coach Jonathan Gannon. What that means for Simmons, who's fifth-year option was declined by the team on Monday, remains unclear. Could the Redbirds be looking to cut ties even sooner with the former Clemson University star?
Coincidentally, the Baltimore Ravens appear to be in a similar situation with one of their own starting linebackers. Patrick Queen, another first-round choice from the '20 draft, was taken 20 picks after the Cardinals grabbed Simmons. The fifth-year option on Queen's rookie contract was declined on Monday as well, so the Ravens may also be preparing to move on from their own version of a disappointing defender.
Patrick Queen would be a fine fit for the Arizona Cardinals defensive unit
It's quite possible that the Cards would have interest in the productive Queen. On paper, the 6 foot, 237 pounder would seem to be a perfect fit for the system that new coordinator Nick Rallis is installing in the desert. Based on what Queen has accomplished during his first three campaigns in the league, it's hard to believe that Baltimore would want to part ways with the former LSU product.
As a rookie back in '20, Queen was credited with 106 tackles, three sacks, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown during a Ravens victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. A year later, the Louisiana native tallied 98 tackles and two sacks in 17 starts for Baltimore. Those statistics are impressive, but they pale in comparison to the numbers that Queen was able to rack up in 2022.
In his 17 starts last fall, Queen contributed 117 tackles, five sacks, two picks and six pass breakups for the Ravens defense. Adding him to a linebacking corps that already consists of Zaven Collins and Kyzir White could mean good things for the unit that Rallis is constructing for the Cardinals.
There are a legion of fans (including yours truly) who wanted to see Arizona pick up the final-year option on Simmons' rookie deal. Unfortunately, that's not happening. Losing Simmons would become much more tolerable if an intriguing veteran like Queen could be brought in as a replacement.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)