Isaiah Simmons trade made the Arizona Cardinals franchise look foolish

The Arizona Cardinals front office got next to nothing for a talented defender who could very well be entering the prime of his NFL career.
Arizona Cardinals Training Camp
Arizona Cardinals Training Camp / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

This past Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals traded Isaiah Simmons to the New York Giants for a seventh-round draft choice. For those who feel that what you just read is false information, it's not. General manager Monti Ossenfort did fantastic back in April with a couple of draft-day trades, but it's fairly obvious that the Cards' first-year executive got fleeced in the Simmons deal.

Three years have passed since former Cardinals GM Steve Keim used the organization's eighth-overall selection on Simmons. Many members of the "Red Sea" were excited by the acquisition, and they had every right to be. Simmons had built a reputation at Clemson University as an exciting all-around defender who logged snaps at linebacker, defensive end, cornerback and safety.

As a rookie with Arizona back in 2020, Simmons racked up 54 tackles, two sacks and an interception in 16 appearances (seven starts) for the squad. The 6 foot 4, 237 pounder was at the mercy of Vance Joseph, the former Redbirds defensive coordinator who never figured out a way to get the best out of the explosive Simmons.

On paper, Simmons did play pretty well for the Cards during the past couple of campaigns. In 2021, the Nebraska native tallied an impressive 105 tackles, and also contributed a pick and seven pass breakups for Joseph's unit. Last season, Simmons upped his game by registering 99 tackles, four sacks, seven passes defensed and two interceptions (one a pick-six) in 17 matchups (13 starts) for "Big Red".

Isaiah Simmons was coming off of two productive campaigns when he was traded by the Arizona Cardinals

With that kind of production, it's hard to believe that Simmons was sent packing. While his coverage skills leave something to be desired, there's no denying that the Nebraska native is a ferocious tackler. It's difficult to fathom why Ossenfort and company would elect to give Simmons to the Giants for practically nothing.

What makes the move even more curious is that Simmons would've counted just over $1 million against the Cards' salary cap in 2023. That's an incredibly low figure, especially when you look at the numbers that Simmons amassed for Arizona's defense last fall.

Many Cardinals followers could've stomached the trade a bit more if Ossenfort would've obtained a larger haul in return for Simmons. New York is fresh off of a postseason appearance last year, so the seventh-rounder that is coming Arizona's way could quite possibly be perched near the very end of the 2024 draft.

It certainly feels like the Cards defense would've been better off in 2023 with a player like Simmons to utilize. For money that's practically peanuts by NFL standards, new coordinator Nick Rallis could've had a roving missile who hits like a freight train at his disposal. It's a horrible thought, but let's all hope that there isn't another Haason Reddick nightmare looming for the Arizona franchise.


(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference; Salary information provided by