This is a brand new article series that I am starting called “If I were a GM” This series will be articles about things I would do if I was the general manager of NFL Teams and list out the perfect scenario that could play out. I’m going to go through each NFL team and highlight some offseason moves and draft picks that would set that respective team up for the future. All 32 NFL teams will be included in this series and the series will end before the 2019 NFL Draft. I’m going to be wheeling and dealing and I hope you guys enjoy the series.
So it just so happens that the first article of this series is the Arizona Cardinals. It also works out to where the Cardinals have the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. What more could a GM ask for? Here are some moves I would make if I was the Arizona Cardinals General Manager.
What I have to work with: 38 million in cap space and 11 draft picks
Notable players: Josh Rosen, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald
Trade Chandler Jones
Trade my best pass rusher? Yep. Look I know we aren’t going to be competitive for a couple years. Chandler Jones carries a 19 million dollar cap hit and is approaching his age-30 season. Trading away Jones in his primegives me the best chance to get a good draft pick, I think Jones could fetch me a third or late second round pick. Consider Jason Pierre Paul netted a third round pick just a season ago. I am going to look at teams like the Jets, Browns, Colts, and Chiefs. I believe trading Jones to the Browns for Pick 49 (Round 2, Pick 17) would get the deal done. The Browns need another impact defensive player and Jones fits the bill. For the first time, the Browns do not have a ton of glaring needs and can afford to trade a second rounder for a stud pass rusher so they can compete now. I’ll take the 9 million dollar cap hit on Jones, that can be wiped off the books in 2020.
After the trade: 44 million in cap space and 12 draft picks
Trade Josh Rosen
If my new shiny head coach thinks that Kyler Murray is the answer then I have to get rid of Rosen. I do not care what the media says, Rosen will get me a first round pick. With so many teams looking for a franchise QB, I’m offering the rare chance at one. I will talk to the Redskins, Patriots, Chargers, and Dolphins. Trading Rosen to the Redskins, who has shown the most interest, makes sense. Rosen gives them a chance to restart the QB position and doesn’t cost anything so they can afford to pay off Alex Smith and his contract. In return, I will get the 15thpick of the NFL Draft. The Dolphins are another choice here that makes sense.
After the trade: 44 million in cap space and 13 draft picks
Sit out Free Agency
I do not expect us to be competitive in 2019 and I do not have enough cap space to go on a spending spree. So I am going to fill some holes on the roster with cheap veterans. I am going to set my sights on 2020 and beyond when I am much more flexible with the cap and have an infusion of young talent. The only free agent worth looking to spend big on is Dante Fowler Jr.If he is able to be signed on a short term contract and or won’t hurt my cap for the future, then I am all for it.
2019 NFL Draft (perfect scenario)
Round 1, Pick 1: Kyler Murray- He fits Kliff Kingsbury air raid scheme perfectly and the two should have a happy marriage together, I get my exciting franchise QB that can help sell me some tickets even though we are going to be terrible this year once again.
Round 1, Pick 14 (From Washington): D.K. Metcalf or Cody Ford- With this pick, the Cardinals should find Kyler Murray some help with either a game changing wideout or offensive tackle. If D.K. is still on the board here, he has to be the pick. D.K. is an elite NFL prospect and pairing him, Christian Kirk, David Johnson, and Murray would give me an offense that can compete in a couple years. If D.K. is not there, drafting Murray’s offensive tackle at Oklahoma would give stability to the tackle position for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 33: One of the top 3 TE/Offensive Line/Trade- This pick can go a couple ways. If I get D.K., then this pick is all about the OL. Taking a player like Chris Lindstrom would help my awful offensive line. If I took Cody Ford with the pick 14, then I am drafting either Hockenson, Fant, or Irv Smith Jr. One of them should be on the board with the first pick of the second round. Lastly, If a quarterback falls and or none of these players are available, trade back and collect more assets.
Round 2, Pick 17 (From Cleveland): Cornerback or Defensive Line- This pick is a prime spot to snag one of the last good defensive prospects. Players like Dexter Lawrence, Trayvon Mullen, and Taylor Rapp can be available here and I should pounce on the one that falls to me.
Round 3, Pick 1: Jeffery Simmons- Tearing his ACL before the combine, Simmons was viewed as a first round talent, teams might take a chance with him in the second round but if he falls to the third then he will be a Cardinal. He will redshirt his rookie year and get healthy, then wreak havoc in 2020 on my rebuilt defensive line.
Rest of the Draft: Fill biggest needs- Offensive Line, Corner, Safety Linebacker, Defensive line, wide receiver. (In that order)
Summary: The moves I would make if I was the Arizona Cardinals GM
- Trading Chandler Jones nets me a second round pick
- Rosen nets me a first round pick
- Draft Kyler Murray
- Draft D.K. Metcalf/Offensive Line with Pick 15
- Draft TE/OL/Trade Back with Pick 33
- Take Defensive prospect with Pick 49
- Draft remaining Needs
- Look forward to 2020