Ossenfort and Free Agency

Harry

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A key part of this job is acquiring talent by means other than the draft. There’s a school of thought that Ossenfort failed in free agency. I disagree. Partly because I believe he felt this couldn’t be fixed in one year and wanted to limit victories to maximize setting up a pivotable draft. He also felt it best to stockpile cap space to coincide with a strong, immediate impact draft. Finally he was criticized for not retaining the Cards’ own free agents. Based on their 2023 performance and considering what they signed for, it’s hard to label that strategy misguided. They were not bad players, but they didn’t go on to have outstanding seasons.

So who did he acquire. I might top the list with Gillikin. I wouldn’t waste any time to re-sign him. He might be the league’s best punter. White has a few limitations in pass coverage, but he was a solid team leader before injury. The defense clearly suffered from his absence. Trysran Colon played well on occasion and seemed a decent backup. I’m surprised he didn’t play ahead of Wilkenson.

Carter was a great pickup at RB. The Cards desperately needed depth and he didn’t just plug a hole. He offers long term productivity. He’s been a solid receiver throughout his career, though surprisingly he was rarely used that way. Joey Blount was only a role player, but he easily effective in that role. It’s not critical to retain him but I think he’ll get a chance to make the team.

I was skeptical about the Froholdt signing and he did display limitations. I do think he got better as the year went along. However, when it became clear the Cards running game intended to constantly pull linemen, Froholdt became far more interesting. He is unusually athletic and pulls with great ease. I think he stays as the Center. Elijah Higgins has shown flashes of developing into a competent receiver. That would greatly impact the Cards’ offseason needs. I would re-sign Geoff Swaim. He was a solid blocking TE who occasionally could chip in with a possession reception. Josh Woods played well in a limited role. I wouldn’t feel fully confident about him in a starting role, but as a backup and spot starter, he was decent. Woods and Barnes were almost peas in a pod. Depending on who they add I’m not sure they need both going forward, but they contributed nicely.

I skipped the Dobbs stuff as that seemed coaches driven.

On the whole and considering the probable objective I think Ossenfort did a solid job of identifying useful role players. This time around he’ll be tasked with competing for impact free agents. If he doesn’t come home with any that could be a major issue. This segment of the job should tell us what Ossenfort is capable of achieving and if the Cardinals are willing to go all in. Success here would be a huge plus.
 

slanidrac16

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I agree. It made no sense to sign any high impact player last year for a couple of reasons. I think the biggest one was to identify players that were on the roster. Allen was the best example. MO let him walk and Stills emerged because he got the opportunity to play.
After evaluating Simmons, he traded him.
The other thing why sign a player for 15-20m and burn up a year of the contract on this past season?

We will all be pissed off if we do nothing in free agency. This staff now knows the players and the needs. I’m not expecting Chris Jones, Tee Higgins type signings. I would be thrilled if we signed an above avg. RT, Wr and DT that can push the pocket. I believe we drafted PJJ with the plan to eventually move him to left tackle. That could change DJ is able to return sooner rather than later.
I also expect to see 1 or 2 post June 1st cuts signings. I also think the front 7 on defense is going to be a work in progress. It won’t be built on 1 great player and 6 average players. I can see the plan to have a solid rotational front 7.
Come on MO. You have us all fired up. Now stoke that fire!
 

Proximo

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It seems to me you are almost always better off signing select low end free agents - and maybe one or two mid tier guys.

In my opinion Cards should focus their free agent money on CB. It seems like that is a very hard position to draft, and I like spending on more known products.
 

kerouac9

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Zach Allen wouldn't have blocked Dante Stills. We play three down linemen much of the time. Allen played 81% of snaps for Denver and got 5.0 sacks as an interior lineman. That would have been good enough for second on the team in snaps and bolstered what was by far our weakest unit.

Byron Murphy would've been our best cornerback by far. He had 3 INTs and 13 passes defensed for an otherwise young and mid defense.

It shouldn't escape notice that both of these are positions where we don't have (m)any answers coming into this offseason and will likely spend much more (at least at IDL).

We'll never know what external and internal constraints were placed on Ossenfort in free agency. From a cost-benefit analysis, the additions of Froholdt and White were home runs. But the choices to do next-to-nothing at corner and IDL probably made the difference between a four- and eight-win season.
 

Fitz4Ever

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I think he did an OK job in a "freebie" year. If they are really as high on Kyler as they claim to be..then coming into a season knowing hes missing at LEAST 8 games and possibly more makes this season a wash. We dont have the roster to compete without a good QB...and so this year was a rinse and repeat type year. Dump players that dont fit the system, dump bad contracts, and basically reset things for this year.

He did a good job of that in FA and in the draft.

My only complaint was getting rid of Hopkins for nothing. I think we could have at least tried to get a younger player in return who could be on the roster going forward...but that would be about it. I would have liked to keep Allen, but I was fine losing Murphy.

This year is the one that matters. We need to see a very well run draft and we need to see signings that make significant improvements over current talent. Depending on how many rookies we are looking to START...we need a Free Agent CB, LG, WR, and DLineman. These guys need to be signed with the intention of them playing significant snaps for the next 3 years or so. I dont want a bunch of journeyman...1 or 2 is fine...but we need to sign some starting quality NFL talent.
 

kerouac9

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We dont have the roster to compete without a good QB.
Kyler had an 89.4 passer rating and 47.8 QBR. He wasn't a good QB this season, and he still went 3-5 coming off that knee injury. The league-average passer rating in 2024 was 89.0.

We built this offense to be less QB-dependent. Going into training camp without an option at QB or not running with any of the guys we brought into camp (I'm not sold that Blough wouldn't have been as productive as Dobbs but in a different way) was a choice.
 

slanidrac16

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Zach Allen wouldn't have blocked Dante Stills. We play three down linemen much of the time. Allen played 81% of snaps for Denver and got 5.0 sacks as an interior lineman. That would have been good enough for second on the team in snaps and bolstered what was by far our weakest unit.

Byron Murphy would've been our best cornerback by far. He had 3 INTs and 13 passes defensed for an otherwise young and mid defense.

It shouldn't escape notice that both of these are positions where we don't have (m)any answers coming into this offseason and will likely spend much more (at least at IDL).

We'll never know what external and internal constraints were placed on Ossenfort in free agency. From a cost-benefit analysis, the additions of Froholdt and White were home runs. But the choices to do next-to-nothing at corner and IDL probably made the difference between a four- and eight-win season.
Allen didn’t want to be here. Murphy dissed this organization after he left.
Both had their reasons and at the time they were justified.
If this regime had been in place maybe they would have thought differently.

Sometimes it’s not always about money.
 

kerouac9

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Allen didn’t want to be here. Murphy dissed this organization after he left.
Both had their reasons and at the time they were justified.
If this regime had been in place maybe they would have thought differently.

Sometimes it’s not always about money.
Now you're changing the argument from "MO let him walk."
 

slanidrac16

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Now you're changing the argument from "MO let him walk."
I’m not changing any argument. It’s another reason why they might have been allowed to leave.
It’s a big assumption both players current situations would have translated to the team this year.
Murphy would have looked a little less than stellar with this pass rush. And if Allen alone probably been neutralized.

I’m not crying over spilled milk over either one of those guys. I guess we just have different opinions.
 

kerouac9

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I’m not changing any argument. It’s another reason why they might have been allowed to leave.
It’s a big assumption both players current situations would have translated to the team this year.
Murphy would have looked a little less than stellar with this pass rush. And if Allen alone probably been neutralized.

I’m not crying over spilled milk over either one of those guys. I guess we just have different opinions.

You understand that you're making two different arguments here, right?

1) MO let them walk/they were allowed to leave
2) They never would have stayed

Those are different and mutually exclusive.

Denver and Minnesota were around the middle of the league in sacks. Denver's pressure percentage was just slightly better than ours. I don't know now one can assert that our coaching was very good but assume that with more-talented and -productive players whom we've seen first hand for multiple years would have been worse.
 

slanidrac16

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You understand that you're making two different arguments here, right?

1) MO let them walk/they were allowed to leave
2) They never would have stayed

Those are different and mutually exclusive.

Denver and Minnesota were around the middle of the league in sacks. Denver's pressure percentage was just slightly better than ours. I don't know now one can assert that our coaching was very good but assume that with more-talented and -productive players whom we've seen first hand for multiple years would have been worse.
Look, it was widely suggested Allen wanted to leave and go with our stellar ex Dc. No?
Murphy was slinging s*** on this organization after signing with the Vikings. No?
Do you think both players sat and talked with MO before they left? Whether MO decided to let them walk maybe based on evaluation and worth, maybe on attitude that didn’t fit this culture or the player themselves decided they didn’t want to be here, there was a reason why they left.
Saying MO failed by not signing them is simply wrong because without insight we just don’t know.
 

Fitz4Ever

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Kyler had an 89.4 passer rating and 47.8 QBR. He wasn't a good QB this season, and he still went 3-5 coming off that knee injury. The league-average passer rating in 2024 was 89.0.

We built this offense to be less QB-dependent. Going into training camp without an option at QB or not running with any of the guys we brought into camp (I'm not sold that Blough wouldn't have been as productive as Dobbs but in a different way) was a choice.
yes...we need a league average QB to be competitive. We dont have the roster to cover for bad QB play...as shown by our 1-7 record with Dobbs and Tune.

Kyler wasnt great, but he was NFL average. With the roster this year we needed an average QB just to be competitive, and needed a really good QB to be a "winning team"
 

kerouac9

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Look, it was widely suggested Allen wanted to leave and go with our stellar ex Dc. No?
Murphy was slinging s*** on this organization after signing with the Vikings. No?
Do you think both players sat and talked with MO before they left? Whether MO decided to let them walk maybe based on evaluation and worth, maybe on attitude that didn’t fit this culture or the player themselves decided they didn’t want to be here, there was a reason why they left.
Saying MO failed by not signing them is simply wrong because without insight we just don’t know.
I just don't get it.
 

Cbus cardsfan

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MO was in full tank mode. I think it's irrelevant whether the players WANTED to leave. The front office wasn't trying to win and those guys would help with wins.
And, yes, I think both would've have stayed had the Cards made competing offers. Most players want to stay with the team that drafted them and where they are familiar.
 

vince56

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Froholdt pulling and crushing OLBs and DBs in the flat is probably the #1 memory of this year I’ll keep with me. He also had that epic body slam of Zach Allen in the preseason too that made all of us perk up. He’s ok as a pass blocker, but as a pulling lead blocker the guy is amazing and I want to see what he can do as he grows into the role here. I absolutely love power / trap football and it seems Gannon does too.
 
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football karma

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pretty clear Monti's single most important goal in 2023 free agency was not making any high dollar, multi-year commitments

curious if that changes
 

FB94

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pretty clear Monti's single most important goal in 2023 free agency was not making any high dollar, multi-year commitments

curious if that changes
IMO this is very much true. With the KK / SK trainwreck attached to the rotting corpse of most of the roster combined with salary cap issues, year one was about getting as far away as possible from that. While year two won’t be a free for all in FA, I do expect 1-2 good FA signings that won’t break the bank but won’t seem like we are dumpster diving as well. 2024 is about continuing the growth and contend for a playoff spot, with 2025 being the year we truly feel like we can make a strong run in the playoffs
 

JohnnyCakes

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This may sound cliche but it is of my opinion that MO's main concern ( and possibly MB as well )was to rid this roster of the stink from the Keim regime.

There were alot of snaps for the rookies this season for a reason. He wanted new blood.
 
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Harry

Harry

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Zach Allen wouldn't have blocked Dante Stills. We play three down linemen much of the time. Allen played 81% of snaps for Denver and got 5.0 sacks as an interior lineman. That would have been good enough for second on the team in snaps and bolstered what was by far our weakest unit.

Byron Murphy would've been our best cornerback by far. He had 3 INTs and 13 passes defensed for an otherwise young and mid defense.

It shouldn't escape notice that both of these are positions where we don't have (m)any answers coming into this offseason and will likely spend much more (at least at IDL).

We'll never know what external and internal constraints were placed on Ossenfort in free agency. From a cost-benefit analysis, the additions of Froholdt and White were home runs. But the choices to do next-to-nothing at corner and IDL probably made the difference between a four- and eight-win season.
Aeneas Williams could have come out of retirement and been the Cards’ best CB. I know some people don’t like PFF, but Murphy had a grade of 57.9 and tied fir 15th in most receptions allowed. He was 37th in solo tackles.

Zach Allen fared better tying for 11th in solo tackles at a cost of $15 mil. I don’t think he’s headed to the Pro Bowl. Besides, if the point was to lose, they didn’t need his sacks.

If the Cards were playoff contenders they might have been re-signed. As it was the idea was to start over.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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Allen didn’t want to be here. Murphy dissed this organization after he left.
Both had their reasons and at the time they were justified.
If this regime had been in place maybe they would have thought differently.

Sometimes it’s not always about money.
I’ll never get this perspective. While you’re right, it’s literally part of the GMs job to players on coming to/staying with the team. If he lands the players he wants and they produce he’s a good gm. If fails to land his targets or the targets he lands stink he’s a bad gm.
 

GeorgiaCard88

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We will all be pissed off if we do nothing in free agency. This staff now knows the players and the needs. I’m not expecting Chris Jones, Tee Higgins type signings. I would be thrilled if we signed an above avg. RT, Wr and DT that can push the pocket. I believe we drafted PJJ with the plan to eventually move him to left tackle. That could change DJ is able to return sooner rather than later.
I also expect to see 1 or 2 post June 1st cuts signings. I also think the front 7 on defense is going to be a work in progress. It won’t be built on 1 great player and 6 average players. I can see the plan to have a solid rotational front 7.
Come on MO. You have us all fired up. Now stoke that fire!
Agree to disagree on the big signings, we patiently waited a year through a bust year in promise of the future. This coaching staff, this team, and especially us the fans deserve an aggressive push in free agency to get us to playoff contention. We’ve got a ton of cap space and two holes the size of the Grand Canyon at WR and D-lineman. Chris jones and T Higgins are precisely the two (I know we probably wouldn’t get both) free agents I would be targeting. This team is star deficient - it’s time to change that.
 
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