10 biggest trade mistakes for the Arizona Cardinals in franchise history

The Arizona Cardinals have made a lot of mistakes over the years, evidenced by the fact they haven’t won an NFL Championship since 1947.
Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Oct. 14, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback (4) Kevin Kolb against the Buffalo
Oct. 14, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback (4) Kevin Kolb against the Buffalo / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3 - Trading Thomas Jones

The Arizona Cardinals saw enough of former first round pick Thomas Jones, prompting them to send him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Marquise Walker. Walker didn’t play a single down for the Buccaneers in 2002, so the trade was seemingly a fresh start for both players. 

But there was one major exception: Walker also never played for the Cardinals, as Arizona cut him during the 2003 preseason. While Walker bounced around the league and never latched on, Jones rushed for 1,000 yards or more in five straight seasons with the Chicago Bears and New York Jets. 

He made the Pro Bowl in 2008, and rushed for 27 combined touchdowns between the 2008 and 2009 seasons. While Jones underperformed in the desert, the Cards probably would have had their running back if they just kept the guy around for another season. 

2 - Trading for Kevin Kolb

The Arizona Cardinals just never seem to land a viable quarterback, or at least that was a recurring theme between the Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer eras. Worse yet, Arizona traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick for the ailing quarterback.

Kolb gave the Cardinals just 15 games, where he compiled a 6-8 record with 17 touchdown passes, 11 picks, and an 83.5 quarterback rating. He never played in the NFL again following his stint in the desert. 

1 - Trading up in the 2018 Draft

Most of the trade mistakes on this list involved acquiring or trading away players for mid-to-late round picks. And at the end of the day, they may have been trade mistakes for the organization, but they weren’t franchise-altering. 

Well, the now-infamous trade up in the 2018 NFL Draft with the Oakland Raiders for Josh Rosen might just rank among the worst in NFL history. Rosen was so bad, he lasted just one year in the desert, finishing the season with a 3-10 record and tossing more interceptions than touchdown passes. 

To make the pick look even worse, Rosen has bounced around the league with six other teams, and he’s never stayed longer than a single season at any stop. Not only was this the biggest mistake the Cardinals made regarding trades; Josh Rosen is probably the biggest draft bust in Arizona Cardinals history. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)