2022 NFC Outlook - I like how the Cards stack up against the other teams (positive vibes)

NWMike

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I've been a long time lurker and a sometime commenter on this board but have never written a thread. Now that it's the morning after of the morning after I thought we could use some positive vibes to help wash away the sheer feeling of dreck from Monday night. Make no mistake I'm with most of you in that Monday was not just disappointing it was downright discouraging. It not only ended the Cards season in brutal fashion it called into question the direction this organization is going, the commitment of its players and for us long time Cards fans triggered way too many memories of sheer futility. However there is some hope as we head into 2022. Looking at where the Cards are positioned in relation to the rest of the NFC I don't see any reason why they can not be competitive in the next 1-2 years. The NFC is dominated by teams that are on the end of their windows and there are no ascending teams like the Bills/Bengals in the AFC. Changes obviously need to be made but I don't think it's time to blow things up yet by cleaning house more like course corrections. Here's a view of each of the other teams heading into the offseason.

*cap numbers / free agents are from Over The Cap

The current playoff teams not in our division - The two dominant teams (Pack and Bucs) are led by aging quarterbacks and have a ton of offseason issues to address (more than us). The other two from the NFC East seem like paper tigers with questions at QB.

Packers - Currently $42M over the cap for 2022 and relying on a 38 year old qb who actively wants out of town. Oh yeah and Devonte Adams is an UFA. There will be no discount double check on his next deal.
Tampa - Tom Brady has to slow down at some point right? Even if he doesn’t and can be an All Pro until he is 50 (I wouldn’t bet against him) they have a ton of free agents next year and about $19M in cap space to sort it out. Bruce is getting up there as well so if they repeat could he call it a day and turn the team over to Bowles?
Dallas - $13.6M over the cap headed into the offseason and seemed like a total pretender. If anyone feels worse about their qb performance in the playoffs than the Cardinals it’s Cowboy fans. Is Zeke washed up?
Eagles - They are in relatively good shape with $12M in cap space and not any big name free agents. Depends on how you feel about Jalen as the guy going forward. They have a ton of draft capital starting with three first round picks this year. I think Murray > Jalen right now.

The NFC West - The Cards are in good shape compared to the rest of the division. We know we can compete with these teams as we went 4-2 in the division this year and it wasn't a fluke. We don't have any salary cap issues and we have all of our draft picks. We need our stars to play like stars which of course is the big question but they have shown they are capable of doing that.

Seahawks - $50M in cap space but so much uncertainty. They just fired their DC and Russ seems like he wants out of town. The defense was pretty bad all year and their O-line wasn’t much better. Duane Brown is an UFA and is 37. Rashaad Penny is also an UFA and even if comes back can the guy stay healthy for 16 games? They have no first round pick this year due to the Jamal Adams trade. Bobby Wagner has a huge cap number this year and rumors are they may let him go.
49ers - They have $10M in cap space but only 32 players under contract for next year so decisions will need to be made. They also need to figure out what to do with Jimmy G. Can he stay healthy? Can he avoid boneheaded plays like he made in Dallas? They have no first round or second round pick this year or first round pick next year thanks to the Trey Lance trade.
Rams - Currently $4M over the cap with some major free agents. Von Miller, Sony Michel, OBJ plus their starting right guard are all UFA so they’ll most likely need to restructure some guys but I doubt they can bring back everyone. Stafford is 33 so he has some years left but we’ll see if he can win a big game next week. If they get rolled by Brady there will be as many questions about Stafford as we are asking about Kyler this week. They gave up pretty much their entire draft this year and they have no first round pick next year either.

The rest of the NFC - There is no team on this list that seems like they are ready to make a leap in the next year or two

Vikings - just fired their coach and GM. They are $11M over the cap currently and stuck with Kirk Cousins as their QB. Probably going to be blowing it up soon.
Bears - Fired their coach and GM as well. Relatively healthy $40M in cap space but both Allen Robinson and Akeem Hicks are UFA. Do you believe in Justin Fields? They have no first round pick this year due to the Fields trade.
Detroit - They are Detroit and Jared Goff is their QB. They have $32M in cap space and no big name UFA but does anyone really believe in Goff? They also have 2 first round picks and 2 third round picks but it feels like they are another year away. Thankfully we don’t have to play them since they own the Cardinals no matter what their record.
Panthers - $24M in cap space but Stephen Gilmore and Reddick are UFA. Sam Darnold is their qb. They have no second and third round pick this year. They own the Cardinals but like Detroit are not on the schedule next year. Did I mention their qb is Sam Darnold?
Saints - Talk about being in cap hell. They are currently $64M over the cap and that is without even having the min number of guys under contract. If you count that it’s up to $76M. They don’t have a definite answer at quarterback and hedge between Winston and Hill and their star WR hasn’t played in a couple of years. They traded away their third round pick in this years draft.
Atlanta - They have $10M in cap space but have a bevy of free agents to manage. The biggest issue is what to do with 37 year old Matt Ryan who counts for $48M of their cap. Cutting him would mean taking on $40M in dead money for $8M in cap savings. Seems unlikely. They do have two second round picks this year.
Giants - just fired their coach. Their QB is a mess, they have no cap space and a host of free agents. Like the Eagles they are kings of the draft with two first rounders, one second and two thirds. Even if they hit on all those it will be a year or two for them and that is IF Jones works out.
WFT - They have $42M in cap space and a couple big name free agents (Brandon Scherff anyone?) however they don’t have a solution at QB and they are owned by Daniel Snyder.

When I look at where each of the teams stand in the NFC headed into 2022 I feel much better about the Cardinals outlook. Would love to hear feedback and what the rest of the board thinks.
 

THESMEL

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Sorry, they actually run the ball and everything.


At one point, the Rams had 163 yards of offense and the Cardinals minus-3. Quarterback Kyler Murray, in his first playoff game, played arguably the poorest game of his career. At halftime, he had completed just 7-of-17 passes for 28 yards, two interceptions and a passer rating of only 9.3 as the Rams piled up a 21-0 lead.
Of the Cardinals' seven first-half possessions, five were three-and-outs and the other two were the picks.
 

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Nice breakdown of everything @NWMike . I don't know where we are vs the Cap and with UFA, but I thought we were pretty grim.
 

dreamcastrocks

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Nice breakdown of everything @NWMike . I don't know where we are vs the Cap and with UFA, but I thought we were pretty grim.
We will have some cap space, but we have to make tough decisions on who to keep, and maybe even to cut some starters. We definitely do not have an abundance of cap space for the amount of players that are free agents.

I count 7 starters that are free agents and you could add more if you want to factor in people like Chase, Peters, Alford.

PlayerPos.2021 Team2022 TeamTypeSnapsAgeCurrent APYGuarantees
Chandler JonesEDGECardinalsUFA65.5%32$16,500,000$31,000,000
Zach ErtzTECardinalsVoid73.2%32$8,500,000$13,318,527
A.J. GreenWRCardinalsVoid75.7%34$6,000,000$6,000,000
Dennis GardeckEDGECardinalsUFA15.9%28$3,384,000$0
Maxx WilliamsTECardinalsUFA18.9%28$2,333,333$750,000
Zeke TurnerLBCardinalsUFA0.5%26$2,133,000$0
James ConnerRBCardinalsUFA51.0%27$1,750,000$1,750,000
Andy LeePCardinalsUFA28.2%40$1,500,000$600,000
Christian KirkWRCardinalsUFA76.2%26$1,473,719$3,595,129
Colt McCoyQBCardinalsUFA17.8%36$1,212,500$137,500
Corey PetersIDLCardinalsUFA33.4%34$1,212,500$0
Charles WashingtonSCardinalsUFA0.3%29$1,127,500$68,750
Darrell DanielsTECardinalsUFA21.7%28$1,127,500$562,500
Max GarciaLGCardinalsUFA68.9%31$1,127,500$687,500
Jack CrawfordIDLCardinalsUFA0.0%34$1,075,000$0
Chris BanjoSCardinalsUFA1.2%32$1,075,000$0
Demetrius HarrisTECardinalsUFA17.9%31$1,075,000$0
Aaron BrewerLSCardinalsUFA24.0%32$1,037,500$620,000
Antonio HamiltonCBCardinalsUFA28.7%29$990,000$0
Robert AlfordCBCardinalsUFA48.8%34$990,000$0
Kylie FittsEDGECardinalsRFA2.0%28$920,000$0
Michael DogbeIDLCardinalsRFA23.0%26$850,000$0
Chase EdmondsRBCardinalsUFA40.5%26$728,089$452,356
Jonathan WardRBCardinalsERFA3.9%25$695,000$0
Antoine WesleyWRCardinalsERFA39.2%25$660,000$0
 
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az jam

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We don't have all our draft picks. We traded the 4th and 5th round picks. However, we should get three comp picks: one 5th round and two 7th rounds.
 
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NWMike

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The Cards currently have $16.6m in cap space according to Over the Cap but that shrinks to $5M with effective cap space (the amount they'll have with 51 players signed). As the poster above noted we have some decisions of our own to make but I still think we're in a good position relative to the other teams in our division and the rest of the NFC.

We will most likely need to free up some cap space so there are a few moves we could make to do that. Here are the top 5 I'd look at:

1. Extend DJ Humphries - he is in the last year of his deal and counts $19.3M to the cap. I know some posters might feel he isn't worth it but he is only 29 and tackles can play into their mid 30s. I have a feeling some of the issues he had were due to Kyler fading back instead of stepping up into the pocket and not helping his O line. Plus an improvement at guard may help his game as well. Tackles always command a premium so a new 3 year deal seems worth it to me. Last time he signed a 3 year $44M contract with a $13.9M signing bonus.

2. Cut or restructure Justin Pugh - He is scheduled to count $12M next year and is also in the last year of his deal. I'd lean toward cutting him and looking for someone younger or resign Pugh to a more team friendly deal.

3. Cut Jordan Phillips - We'd take a $9M hit in dead money but save $4.1M in cap space. He is not reliable.

4. Cut Jordan Hicks - Save another $6.5M

5. Cut or restructure Kennard - Saves another $4.8M. If Jones goes you may want to keep him though.
 

GoldGloveschmidt

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The Cards currently have $16.6m in cap space according to Over the Cap but that shrinks to $5M with effective cap space (the amount they'll have with 51 players signed). As the poster above noted we have some decisions of our own to make but I still think we're in a good position relative to the other teams in our division and the rest of the NFC.

We will most likely need to free up some cap space so there are a few moves we could make to do that. Here are the top 5 I'd look at:

1. Extend DJ Humphries - he is in the last year of his deal and counts $19.3M to the cap. I know some posters might feel he isn't worth it but he is only 29 and tackles can play into their mid 30s. I have a feeling some of the issues he had were due to Kyler fading back instead of stepping up into the pocket and not helping his O line. Plus an improvement at guard may help his game as well. Tackles always command a premium so a new 3 year deal seems worth it to me. Last time he signed a 3 year $44M contract with a $13.9M signing bonus.

2. Cut or restructure Justin Pugh - He is scheduled to count $12M next year and is also in the last year of his deal. I'd lean toward cutting him and looking for someone younger or resign Pugh to a more team friendly deal.

3. Cut Jordan Phillips - We'd take a $9M hit in dead money but save $4.1M in cap space. He is not reliable.

4. Cut Jordan Hicks - Save another $6.5M

5. Cut or restructure Kennard - Saves another $4.8M. If Jones goes you may want to keep him though.

Post June 1 cuts, Phillips saves 10 million in cap space, Kennard 7 million, Pugh 10 million. Yes, it kicks half of the can down the road to the following season, but unfortunately that may need to be done in order to field a semi complete roster next season. Keim has royally screwed this team over with bad contracts to bums like Phillips, and bust after bust in the draft.
 

Harry

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The Cards currently have $16.6m in cap space according to Over the Cap but that shrinks to $5M with effective cap space (the amount they'll have with 51 players signed). As the poster above noted we have some decisions of our own to make but I still think we're in a good position relative to the other teams in our division and the rest of the NFC.

We will most likely need to free up some cap space so there are a few moves we could make to do that. Here are the top 5 I'd look at:

1. Extend DJ Humphries - he is in the last year of his deal and counts $19.3M to the cap. I know some posters might feel he isn't worth it but he is only 29 and tackles can play into their mid 30s. I have a feeling some of the issues he had were due to Kyler fading back instead of stepping up into the pocket and not helping his O line. Plus an improvement at guard may help his game as well. Tackles always command a premium so a new 3 year deal seems worth it to me. Last time he signed a 3 year $44M contract with a $13.9M signing bonus.

2. Cut or restructure Justin Pugh - He is scheduled to count $12M next year and is also in the last year of his deal. I'd lean toward cutting him and looking for someone younger or resign Pugh to a more team friendly deal.

3. Cut Jordan Phillips - We'd take a $9M hit in dead money but save $4.1M in cap space. He is not reliable.

4. Cut Jordan Hicks - Save another $6.5M

5. Cut or restructure Kennard - Saves another $4.8M. If Jones goes you may want to keep him though.
Don’t forget Phillips was extended. You’ll eat another $6 mil in 2023. I’d keep him. He played great when playing for a contract. He might get more motivated to play big as he‘ll be cut for sure in 2023 with no big contract waiting. I agree on Pugh & Hicks. I’d also cut Isabella and maybe Prater. Breon Borders is already gone.

I would redo Humphries, Golden & Hudson. Hudson could play another 5 years.

I would not extend Murray.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I've been a long time lurker and a sometime commenter on this board but have never written a thread. Now that it's the morning after of the morning after I thought we could use some positive vibes to help wash away the sheer feeling of dreck from Monday night. Make no mistake I'm with most of you in that Monday was not just disappointing it was downright discouraging. It not only ended the Cards season in brutal fashion it called into question the direction this organization is going, the commitment of its players and for us long time Cards fans triggered way too many memories of sheer futility. However there is some hope as we head into 2022. Looking at where the Cards are positioned in relation to the rest of the NFC I don't see any reason why they can not be competitive in the next 1-2 years. The NFC is dominated by teams that are on the end of their windows and there are no ascending teams like the Bills/Bengals in the AFC. Changes obviously need to be made but I don't think it's time to blow things up yet by cleaning house more like course corrections. Here's a view of each of the other teams heading into the offseason.

*cap numbers / free agents are from Over The Cap

The current playoff teams not in our division - The two dominant teams (Pack and Bucs) are led by aging quarterbacks and have a ton of offseason issues to address (more than us). The other two from the NFC East seem like paper tigers with questions at QB.

Packers - Currently $42M over the cap for 2022 and relying on a 38 year old qb who actively wants out of town. Oh yeah and Devonte Adams is an UFA. There will be no discount double check on his next deal.
Tampa - Tom Brady has to slow down at some point right? Even if he doesn’t and can be an All Pro until he is 50 (I wouldn’t bet against him) they have a ton of free agents next year and about $19M in cap space to sort it out. Bruce is getting up there as well so if they repeat could he call it a day and turn the team over to Bowles?
Dallas - $13.6M over the cap headed into the offseason and seemed like a total pretender. If anyone feels worse about their qb performance in the playoffs than the Cardinals it’s Cowboy fans. Is Zeke washed up?
Eagles - They are in relatively good shape with $12M in cap space and not any big name free agents. Depends on how you feel about Jalen as the guy going forward. They have a ton of draft capital starting with three first round picks this year. I think Murray > Jalen right now.

The NFC West - The Cards are in good shape compared to the rest of the division. We know we can compete with these teams as we went 4-2 in the division this year and it wasn't a fluke. We don't have any salary cap issues and we have all of our draft picks. We need our stars to play like stars which of course is the big question but they have shown they are capable of doing that.

Seahawks - $50M in cap space but so much uncertainty. They just fired their DC and Russ seems like he wants out of town. The defense was pretty bad all year and their O-line wasn’t much better. Duane Brown is an UFA and is 37. Rashaad Penny is also an UFA and even if comes back can the guy stay healthy for 16 games? They have no first round pick this year due to the Jamal Adams trade. Bobby Wagner has a huge cap number this year and rumors are they may let him go.
49ers - They have $10M in cap space but only 32 players under contract for next year so decisions will need to be made. They also need to figure out what to do with Jimmy G. Can he stay healthy? Can he avoid boneheaded plays like he made in Dallas? They have no first round or second round pick this year or first round pick next year thanks to the Trey Lance trade.
Rams - Currently $4M over the cap with some major free agents. Von Miller, Sony Michel, OBJ plus their starting right guard are all UFA so they’ll most likely need to restructure some guys but I doubt they can bring back everyone. Stafford is 33 so he has some years left but we’ll see if he can win a big game next week. If they get rolled by Brady there will be as many questions about Stafford as we are asking about Kyler this week. They gave up pretty much their entire draft this year and they have no first round pick next year either.

The rest of the NFC - There is no team on this list that seems like they are ready to make a leap in the next year or two

Vikings - just fired their coach and GM. They are $11M over the cap currently and stuck with Kirk Cousins as their QB. Probably going to be blowing it up soon.
Bears - Fired their coach and GM as well. Relatively healthy $40M in cap space but both Allen Robinson and Akeem Hicks are UFA. Do you believe in Justin Fields? They have no first round pick this year due to the Fields trade.
Detroit - They are Detroit and Jared Goff is their QB. They have $32M in cap space and no big name UFA but does anyone really believe in Goff? They also have 2 first round picks and 2 third round picks but it feels like they are another year away. Thankfully we don’t have to play them since they own the Cardinals no matter what their record.
Panthers - $24M in cap space but Stephen Gilmore and Reddick are UFA. Sam Darnold is their qb. They have no second and third round pick this year. They own the Cardinals but like Detroit are not on the schedule next year. Did I mention their qb is Sam Darnold?
Saints - Talk about being in cap hell. They are currently $64M over the cap and that is without even having the min number of guys under contract. If you count that it’s up to $76M. They don’t have a definite answer at quarterback and hedge between Winston and Hill and their star WR hasn’t played in a couple of years. They traded away their third round pick in this years draft.
Atlanta - They have $10M in cap space but have a bevy of free agents to manage. The biggest issue is what to do with 37 year old Matt Ryan who counts for $48M of their cap. Cutting him would mean taking on $40M in dead money for $8M in cap savings. Seems unlikely. They do have two second round picks this year.
Giants - just fired their coach. Their QB is a mess, they have no cap space and a host of free agents. Like the Eagles they are kings of the draft with two first rounders, one second and two thirds. Even if they hit on all those it will be a year or two for them and that is IF Jones works out.
WFT - They have $42M in cap space and a couple big name free agents (Brandon Scherff anyone?) however they don’t have a solution at QB and they are owned by Daniel Snyder.

When I look at where each of the teams stand in the NFC headed into 2022 I feel much better about the Cardinals outlook. Would love to hear feedback and what the rest of the board thinks.
Pretty good write up. Thank you for the time, effort and positive spin. The only thing you neglect to state is how many starters and key contributors are free agents for the cards. You raised the small number of players on the niners roster as a negative but neglected to say the same as a negative for the cards.
 

slanidrac16

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This is going to be a brutal off season. Every single decision is going to be second guessed and questioned and rightfully so.
Bidwill, Keim and Kingsbury are going to be brutalized. As the new season approaches very few on this site are going to fall for the same old ear candy.

The divide on this site is going to widen. Most will go or move to the dark side. That’s where you’ll find me.

Yes we will all watch as Keim claims the great free agents he signs. And after the draft He will brag how they can’t believe we got “ the guy” they had targeted in the first round. He will attempt to convince us they had his 3rd selection rated as a 1st rounder.
But remember this. Ninety percent of the poster on this board would have had better drafts than Keim has had. Silly? Not really because we would listen to the experts and not believe we were the smartest guy in the room.

Kingsbury will go on to say how great Kyler looks. How this guy and that guy is having a terrific camp.

Well some of us will fall for it.

I won’t.
 

cardpa

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Don’t forget Phillips was extended. You’ll eat another $6 mil in 2023. I’d keep him. He played great when playing for a contract. He might get more motivated to play big as he‘ll be cut for sure in 2023 with no big contract waiting. I agree on Pugh & Hicks. I’d also cut Isabella and maybe Prater. Breon Borders is already gone.

I would redo Humphries, Golden & Hudson. Hudson could play another 5 years.

I would not extend Murray.
Not quite, the team just signed him to a futures contract.
 

cardpa

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Post June 1 cuts, Phillips saves 10 million in cap space, Kennard 7 million, Pugh 10 million. Yes, it kicks half of the can down the road to the following season, but unfortunately that may need to be done in order to field a semi complete roster next season. Keim has royally screwed this team over with bad contracts to bums like Phillips, and bust after bust in the draft.
Pugh is going to be the Cardinals starting LG in 2022 at either his present contract or with a contract extension that lowers his 2022 cap hit. I have no proof just a large gut feeling this is how it will play out.
 

GoldGloveschmidt

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Pugh is going to be the Cardinals starting LG in 2022 at either his present contract or with a contract extension that lowers his 2022 cap hit. I have no proof just a large gut feeling this is how it will play out.

I agree with you, but I don't like it. We need more physical maulers in the trenches and Pugh ain't it
 
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NWMike

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I don't have a problem with Pugh if we can bring him back at a more affordable rate. Gambo tweeted out earlier this week that he is not under contract for next year and is an UFA so I'm not sure what his status is right now. The issue with Pugh if you bring him back though is he will get injured at some point during the year so you basically need to have two guys for that one spot. If we can upgrade the other guard position that might work but you can't have two weak links in the middle. We saw how that played out and it wasn't pretty.
 
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cardpa

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I don't have a problem with Pugh if we can bring him back at a more affordable rate. Gambo tweeted out earlier this week that he is not under contract for next year and is an UFA so I'm not sure what his status is right now. The issue with Pugh if you bring him back though is he will get injured at some point during the year so you basically need to have two guys for that one spot. If we can upgrade the other guard position that might work but you can't have two weak links in the middle. We saw how that played out and it wasn't pretty.
The entire Oline will be UFAs in 2023.
 
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NWMike

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Sorry I meant this upcoming season. Over the Cap shows him under contract but Gambo says he is not so I'm not sure now. Harry mentioned earlier he thought OTC had Phillips wrong as well so it could be they are a little out of date.
 

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