Isaiah Simmons' return to the desert shouldn’t distract the Arizona Cardinals

In August, the Arizona Cardinals traded safety Isaiah Simmons to the New York Giants, and their former first round pick is about to have his homecoming.
East Rutherford, NJ August 26, 2023 -- Isaiah Simmons of the Giants can't wrap up Jets quarterback
East Rutherford, NJ August 26, 2023 -- Isaiah Simmons of the Giants can't wrap up Jets quarterback / Chris Pedota / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sometimes the hometown fans relentlessly boo their former first round picks making their respective homecoming. Other times, the fans cheer them, as they may have been a staple for the franchise for a good chunk of their career. Then there are players like former Arizona Cardinals linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons, who shouldn’t get much of a reaction. 

It’s a storyline, no doubt, but so far, Simmons has made a minimal impact for his new team, the New York Giants. Last Sunday night, his first experience in a Giants uniform resulted in a 40-0 beatdown vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Simmons saw time in just 15 defensive snaps and 15 snaps on special teams. He made one tackle and generated a PFF grade of 58.9.

Arizona Cardinals, fans, shouldn’t be distracted by Simmons’ homecoming

To say the least, Simmons’ trade was polarizing, given the low compensation general manager Monti Ossenfort got for the former eighth overall pick. But in the events leading to his trade, Simmons did not look like a good fit for the new-look defense. And it became clear Ossenfort, head coach Jonathan Gannon, and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis thought they could do better. 

And better they may have done, with K’Von Wallace coming to the team off of waivers shortly before the 2023 season began. Wallace scored a 62.8 grade on PFF, and he totaled seven tackles along with a pair of pass deflections. He allowed just 6.9 yards per target in pass coverage, and quarterback Sam Howell generated a meager 82.8 passer rating against the Arizona Cardinals newest safety. 

Unlike Simmons, Wallace played in 70% of all possible defensive snaps and 50 total. Overall, the Cards may not have gotten much for Simmons, but it eventually created a lane to land K’Von Wallace, who through one week has given the Redbirds some solid play. 


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference, grades provided by PFF [subscription])