Football Outsiders: Pre-Free Agency Cards Needs

kerouac9

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Four Downs: NFC West

Biggest Need: Weapons

Arizona made the playoffs last season for the first time in six years, but it's hard to build on that success when you're going through significant roster churn. Based on 2021 playing time, the Cardinals are at risk of losing their top two running backs, their top two wide receivers, and their top four tight ends, all of whom are about to enter free agency at the same time. Between those eight players, that's nearly 70% of Arizona's yards from scrimmage last year poised to walk out the door.

Of those eight, it's most imperative that the Cardinals hang on to Christian Kirk, who has quietly been their leading receiver in the Kyler Murray era. With Kirk and DeAndre Hopkins (who might have returned from his torn MCL to play in the Super Bowl Arizona had gotten that far) out wide and second-year player Rondale Moore as the designated YAC guy in the slot, the Cardinals would still have a fine trio of starters at receiver. At running back, James Conner scored 18 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl, but he has little to offer beyond goal-line punch—he averaged only 3.7 yards per carry and finished barely above average in rushing DVOA. Chase Edmonds, one of the NFL's top receiving backs, would actually be a bigger loss, having finished in the top five in receiving DYAR and DVOA in each of the last two seasons. A.J. Green and Zach Ertz were quality players in Arizona, but both are in their early 30s and are lower on the priority list.

Major Free Agents: RB James Conner, RB Chase Edmonds, TE Zach Ertz, WR A.J. Green, ER Chandler Jones, WR Christian Kirk, QB Colt McCoy, DT Corey Peters



For all that talent the Cardinals might lose on offense, their biggest free agent is actually on defense. Chandler Jones enjoyed quite a bounceback season, going from one sack in five games in 2020 to 10.5 in 15 games in 2021. He also led the team with 36 total pressures and a dozen tackles for loss, per Pro Football Reference. According to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN, Jones is likely to be playing for a new team this fall. Corey Peters turns 34 in June, but he remains an integral part of the Arizona front; he has started at least nine games for the Cardinals in each of the past six years, including 11 last season. And Arizona might not have been a playoff team at all last year were it not for Colt McCoy, who played well in a pair of wins over San Francisco and Seattle (combined statline: 81.4% completion rate, 8.2 yards per throw, three touchdowns, no interceptions).
 

SoonerLou

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Most imperative to hold on to Christian Kirk?!? Paying Kirk anywhere near what he'd get on the open market would be a huge mistake.
I've gone back and forth on this. I fear Keim trying to replace Kirk with Emmanuel Sanders or worse Danny Amendola. Just an old cheap alternative.

In a way Im hoping the poor end to the season hurts his value and we keep him for a cheaper deal. If not then lets hope Keim knows what he's doing.
 

Dr. Jones

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Kirk and Edmonds are very close to Kyler IIRC. It may play a role. Aren't they the two who play on twitch with him after games?

I'd love to see Chandler's game by game performances as it pertains to pressures and TFL. If it looks anything like sacks, I'd laugh in this writers face.
 
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kerouac9

kerouac9

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kerouac9

kerouac9

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Maybe is a future strategy to upgrade one position, drafting 7
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Should've drafted at least 2 more in 2019.

Andy Isabella has played 493 offensive snaps with the Cards -- he played 30 last season(!!!!!)
Hakeem Butler has played 1 offensive snap in his entire NFL career (in 2020 with Philly)
KeeSean Johnson has played 585 pro offensive snaps (all with AZ -- Didn't play a down for Philly last year)

It makes me mad all over again that KeeSean Johnson could essentially miss an entire season and STILL HAVE MORE CAREER SNAPS THAN ANDY ISABELLA.

#fireKeim
 

Chopper0080

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Kirk being really good but also being very limited are true. Without Rondale Moore, you could make an argument to keep Kirk and pay him the market rate. Because of Moore and Kirk's limitations, you can't really do it because it limits Moore but you do have to add someone. The player they add just has to play outside.
 

Dayman

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Let Kirk go (to Buffalo where he can play with his good friend Josh Allen) and take the comp pick. It's not like Keim won't draft 5 more slot receivers in the next 5 years, anyway. The dude is addicted to drafting them.
 

slanidrac16

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I've gone back and forth on this. I fear Keim trying to replace Kirk with Emmanuel Sanders or worse Danny Amendola. Just an old cheap alternative.

In a way Im hoping the poor end to the season hurts his value and we keep him for a cheaper deal. If not then lets hope Keim knows what he's doing.
Replace him with Cedric Wilson.
 

DaHilg

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I've gone back and forth on this. I fear Keim trying to replace Kirk with Emmanuel Sanders or worse Danny Amendola. Just an old cheap alternative.

In a way Im hoping the poor end to the season hurts his value and we keep him for a cheaper deal. If not then lets hope Keim knows what he's doing.
Kirk is a glorified #3 at best.. lacks any separation and awful at YAC. I would take an aging Sanders any day and twice on Sunday over Kirk at a 4th of the cost.
 
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Cardsfaninlouky

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Kirk is a glorified #3 at best.. lacks any separation and awful at YAC. I would take an aging Sanders any day and twice on Sunday over Kirk at a 4th of the cost.
R. Moore is damn good at YAC, he just needs to get his time in the slot & be taught the full route tree. People can say that he'll get hurt or is injury prone but Kirk has had his share of injuries also. If Moore is given the chance in the slot we'll forget all about Kirk? He's way faster also. We just need a legit #2 WR.
 

BritCard

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It's funny listening to people who say Keim can't draft and has a bad history of extending draft picks who also want to let Kirk walk when he is arguably one of Keims better draft picks.

Also people that really wanted to sign Curtis Samuel in FA last year and argued they would rather have Samuel for $11m than Green for $6m now say $12m is too much for Kirk. When Kirk has better stats through 4 years than Samuel.

I guess people really don't like his big bobble head.
 

DaHilg

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R. Moore is damn good at YAC, he just needs to get his time in the slot & be taught the full route tree. People can say that he'll get hurt or is injury prone but Kirk has had his share of injuries also. If Moore is given the chance in the slot we'll forget all about Kirk? He's way faster also. We just need a legit #2 WR.
Spot on.. need a legit #2 100%. Completely lack creativity with Moore. Now I don’t know if that’s because of Kirk was ahead of him or bc he didn’t have the ability to run more types of routes.

Kliffy PLEASE get rid of your WR screens. They almost never seem to work as the defenses game plan against them because you are so predictable.
 

Stout

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R. Moore is damn good at YAC, he just needs to get his time in the slot & be taught the full route tree. People can say that he'll get hurt or is injury prone but Kirk has had his share of injuries also. If Moore is given the chance in the slot we'll forget all about Kirk? He's way faster also. We just need a legit #2 WR.
That remains to be seen. There's every possibility that he isn't any good in the slot either. I HOPE he is, as I think he's shifty enough and has some wiggle to get YAC, but the jury is very much out. Not to mention his size and clear injury problems. He doesn't inspire much confidence in me, but we have very little choice but to roll with him as our top slot receiver.
 

GoldGloveschmidt

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It's funny listening to people who say Keim can't draft and has a bad history of extending draft picks who also want to let Kirk walk when he is arguably one of Keims better draft picks.

Also people that really wanted to sign Curtis Samuel in FA last year and argued they would rather have Samuel for $11m than Green for $6m now say $12m is too much for Kirk. When Kirk has better stats through 4 years than Samuel.

I guess people really don't like his big bobble head.

The problem with extending Kirk is you just spent ANOTHER 2nd round pick on a slot WR last year. You can't really play them both effectively. Keim put himself in a lose-lose situation with his obsession of drafting slot WRs. Let Kirk go and you are extending your bad history of signing your drafted guys. Keep him and you wasted your 2nd round pick, again.
 

Cardsfaninlouky

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That remains to be seen. There's every possibility that he isn't any good in the slot either. I HOPE he is, as I think he's shifty enough and has some wiggle to get YAC, but the jury is very much out. Not to mention his size and clear injury problems. He doesn't inspire much confidence in me, but we have very little choice but to roll with him as our top slot receiver.
I understand your concerns but if & when they give him a chance I truly believe you'll see how good he can be. I'm biased towards him cause he played his high school football right here in Louisville. Louisville Trinity won 3 state titles with him playing, but they're the best football team in the state of Kentucky most every year. I've watched his whole career. His YAC is what sets him apart, he's proven it everywhere so far & he just needs the opportunity with the Cardinals. I wanted him to choose Kentucky but he chose Purdue instead, he became a 1st team all american his freshman year, the kid is explosive & has the talent.
 

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