Arizona Cardinals worst moves of the 2023 offseason
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals offseason won’t make the team contenders in 2023, but it set a solid foundation. However, it also contained some design flaws.
Many outlets panned the Arizona Cardinals for their refusal to spend big in free agency given the amount of cap space they had heading into it. This almost guaranteed the team wouldn’t contend for a playoff spot in 2023. Although there is enough strength on this roster for the Redbirds to at least play better than many believe they will.
But with a strong draft and a vision for long-term success, if it means heading into the season with low expectations, then so be it. However, the offseason could have been better, as the Cards had their fair share of bad moves.
What were the worst? Keep reading for more.
Worst moves of the Arizona Cardinals offseason
1 - Refusing to sign or draft a pure center
While I felt the Arizona Cardinals had a better offseason than many gave them credit for to the point I can live with the other two items on this list, failing to sign or draft a pure center was a head scratcher. Sure, I like Jon Gaines II and Hjalte Froholdt, but they’ve been primarily guards and part time centers.
There was plenty of talent in the draft featuring players with more experience at the position than Gaines, yet the Cardinals decided against it. Overall, it just wasn’t a wise move.
2 - Failing to re-sign Andy Lee
Don’t get me wrong: I like Matt Haack, and Nolan Cooney’s story is nothing short of inspiring. But if the Cardinals struggle early this season, they will figure to be punting often. Well, probably more often since Kliff Kingsbury is no longer on the sideline to go for it on fourth and five from his own side of the field every other time the team finds itself in such a situation.
Anyway, Lee was a proven player who could routinely pin opponents deep without outkicking his coverage team. And while the Cards needed to get younger on special teams, rolling with an inexperienced punter this season is nothing short of high risk.
3 - Declining Isaiah Simmons’ fifth-year option
You might find this one ironic, as I previously stated declining Isaiah Simmons’ fifth-year option made sense. And it does, but this still doesn’t excuse it from being a poor offseason move, as I’m seeing history potentially repeating itself after the Redbirds did the same thing regarding Haason Reddick a few short years ago.
So my reasoning for putting this move here is more of its high-risk factor. No, Simmons hasn’t been a game-changer most of the time, though he’s had his moments. But he still played well enough to at least land inside the young nucleus that the Arizona Cardinals need to build.