Top 3 reasons why the Arizona Cardinals are not tanking in 2023

Jan 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) looks
Jan 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) looks / Michael Chow-Arizona Republic / USA

Popular belief tells us the Arizona Cardinals are tanking in 2023 and setting the stage for 2024. But there are a few reasons why that may not be the case.

The Arizona Cardinals are one team that many believe are tanking in 2023 and setting themselves up to attain early draft picks in 2024. But when you look closer at the claim, it’s clear that this team may not be looking to lose football games this season. And really, who would?

While it’s true the Cardinals didn’t make much noise in free agency, and their most recent move involved releasing star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they still improved the roster in multiple aspects. The Redbirds also didn’t tear down the roster in the way a tanking team would. 

Below, I’ve listed three reasons why the Cards, even if the playoffs are barely an option this season, are not tanking. Let’s look closer at each. 

Why the Arizona Cardinals are not tanking in 2023

1 - Their offensive line is too talented

The Arizona Cardinals have one of the better and deeper offensive lines in pro football, and there is no way a team looking to tank would want a line that can easily invoke a ‘next man up’ strategy if they get hit with injuries. The unit is a solid mix of rookies, seasoned veterans, and role players, and it’s designed to excel in 2023 with top pick Paris Johnson, former Pro Bowler D.J. Humphries, and a solid presence in Will Hernandez, to name a few. 

Look for the Cardinals offense to perform far better in its new system with such a powerful offensive line in front of its skill position players that even without quarterback Kyler Murray, including the likes of Marquise Brown, Trey McBride, and James Conner, to name a few. 

2 - Budda Baker’s and Jalen Thompson’s presence

When news broke that All-Pro safety Budda Baker planned to return this season, it was a breath of fresh air during an Arizona Cardinals offseason that had seen more than its fair share of murky waters. Baker will reunite with Jalen Thompson to form one of the NFL’s most feared duos at safety, and that’s a welcoming sign to fans everywhere. 

If general manager Monti Ossenfort was serious about tanking, Baker would be on another roster right now, since I have no doubt someone would have traded for him before or during the NFL Draft. That didn’t occur, and now that Baker stated his intentions to return, you can add safety to yet another strong position group the Cards boast.  

3 - Cardinals had too good of a draft

This past April, the Arizona Cardinals made enough moves to put themselves in prime position to snag high quality picks along with building a high quantity of draft capital in the present and the future, something that you can rarely do simultaneously. But they didn’t add such capital to 2024 at the expense of 2023. . 

Instead, Arizona enjoyed an excellent draft this year, and if they were truly serious about tanking, they would have instead opted to stockpile picks next season by mortgaging their high picks in 2023 in favor of drafting future role players. That didn’t happen. 

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