The Cardinals lost quarterback Kyler Murray to a torn ACL in Game 3 of Monday night’s game. While it’s been a heroic run among players returning significantly early from non-contact knee injuries in recent seasons, it would have been irresponsible for the Cardinals to expect Murray to start the regular season next year.
No one is going to blame Arizona for this particular development. Heck, the Cardinals even play on natural turf. However, what we are wondering is what will happen in the coming weeks and months. Some kind of exposure.
Maybe it’s just me (Cardinals fans seem to think so), but since the end of the Bruce Arians regime, Arizona feels like one of the tech startups tied to a Netflix documentary series. In principle, there was a sounding idea that mysteriously continued to raise funds and resources, whereas from the start the actual product was never developed. If someone wearing a Cardinals uniform asks you for a blood sample, be careful, I suppose.
Forgive this summary if it seems a bit personal and unnecessary to Cardinals fans who come to this site, but: First, Let’s swap for Josh Rosen. Then it was oh, nevermind, let’s draft the other guy and hire the guy who can lead the offense he ran in college and bring these special buyers in here to make it work. Then they stopped running that charge (the Cardinals are now much closer to the Sean McVay system than the Mike Leach–ian Airstrike)! They never stole one of those wide receivers! They continued to trade and hoard for more expensive wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins, shuffling one of the most costly positions in football as if exchanging old wine collections. They spent multiple first-round picks on defenders that didn’t make a difference and had to put them in brackets. these are They made decisions about more free agency spending in 2021. They revived the playoffs by unbelievable luck during the regular season last year and were knocked down by the Rams in the opening round, then handed out coach Kliff Kingsbury and his most notable achievement, general manager Steve Keim. It was one of the three oldest squads in the NFL (and one, the Buccaneers, has an average-weight 45-year-old quarterback).
Let’s take a look at the starting eleven of Monday night’s game without Murray:
• Hopkins: 30 years old, signed until 2024, bought by trade (runoff pick, fourth-round pick, plus running back to David Johnson).
• Trey McBride, 23, signed by ’25, received via draft (run-off pick).
• Josh Jones signed until 25, ’23, acquired via draft (third round pick).
• Cody Ford, signed until 25, ’22, acquired by trade (fifth round pick).
• Billy Price, 28, signed until ’22, bought through free agency (interestingly enough, the corresponding move to sign Price was to remove Andy Isabella, a former Cardinals second-round pick) .
• Max Garcia, 31, signed until ’22, retrieved via training team autograph (Giants).
• Signed by Kelvin Beachum, 33, ’22, purchased through free agency.
• AJ Green, 34, signed until ’22, purchased through free agency.
• Marquise Brown signed until 25, ’23 (Cardinals exercised fifth year option), bought by trade (first round pick).
• James Conner, signed until 27, ’24, purchased through free agency.
• JJ Watt, 33, signed until ’22, purchased through free agency.
• Zach Allen, signed until 25, ’22, taken through draft (third round pick).
• Ben Niemann, signed until 27, ’22, purchased through free agency.
• Isaiah Simmons, 24, signed by ’23, received via draft (first-round pick).
• Zaven Collins, 23, signed by ’24, received via draft (first round pick).
• Markus Golden signed contract until 31, ’23, purchased through free agency.
• Myjai Sanders, contracted until 24, ’25, acquired via draft (third round pick).
• Antonio Hamilton signed until 29, ’22, purchased through free agency.
• Marco Wilson, 24, signed until ’24, picked by draft (fourth round pick).
• Jalen Thompson, 24 signed until ’25, acquired via additional draft (fifth round pick).
• Budda Baker, signed by 26, ’24, received via draft (run-off pick).
Looking at the roster, it can be assumed that Arizona has put a large amount of equity into their secondary and defensive troops and is confident in the future success of these position groups. However, the Cardinals are last in the NFL in numbers allowed, 25th in passes allowed, 29th in passes allowed, and 19th in passes per try allowed. It can also be considered that their strength is against running. Indeed, they are eighth in allowed rushing yards in 2022, but 23rd in allowed quick goals and 22nd in yards per allowed rushing attempt (they’re 24th in allowed rushing success rate and 19th in the EPA to surrender). Collins played roughly 20% of the team’s defensive snaps last year, up 98% this year. Simmons plays 76% of the team’s snaps, down from 92% in 1921, but up from 34% in his rookie season.
Offensively, they are visibly devoid of building blocks. Justin Pugh (Torn ACL) is not signed for 2023. Offensive stalwart Rodney Hudson will be 34 next season as he hasn’t played a full season since arriving in Arizona at 21. Of the two drafts to start games, McBride has 12 catches this year and spells out 32-year-old Zach Ertz (who was out of the season with a knee injury and signed to the ’23’). Rondale Moore had some pace of recovery in his rookie season at 21, but was blocked due to a groin injury.
Prudently, the Cardinals have work to do to straighten the offensive line and bolster their starting lineup with a number of young emerging stars on rookie contracts. There is approximately $24 million in available capital space for next year.
You can look at it a bit like a kaleidoscope and see traditional team building like Pete Carroll or Bill Belichick (the draft doesn’t matter and we’ll reward the builders). There is a way to look at the cardinals long enough and see a team that doesn’t give up, acting like any sane person in the same situation would. You can see the pragmatism as we always argue for other coaches and GMs to take more time.
Or look at what we might see in the coming weeks or months: Where is this team’s native talent? Besides, what was the plan to build around Murray? Are you frantically searching the free agency and trading markets? What is the basis of the Cardinals, and how far are they from being a team that could be greater than the heroism of their young star quarterback and the confidence of Hopkins for whom they have paid more in football than all but two receivers? ?
Again, maybe just me, from 2019 to 22 – a lifetime in the NFL – thought I could tell you what the Cardinals were all about beyond teaming up with Murray at the quarterback, a bit like how we can tell you what the 49ers or Seahawks are beyond what’s in the center. .
Looks like we’re definitely about to find out.
While that’s not exactly a fair assessment given the waning moments of a losing game against the Patriots, the imminence of Murray’s injury, and the fact that Colt McCoy was never on the game plan, we already know they’re in deep. Much more lifebuoys for them to grasp now. Their perverted versions of patience and pragmatism have left them stranded here.