With the 2023 NFL draft closely approaching and free agency kicking off, we will start to see teams slowly begin to show what their plans are for the offseason and the 2023-2024 NFL season.
With the big story being the top 3 quarterbacks in the draft, what team can afford to pass on a QB and make moves in the first round? Will there be a major trade in the top 5 again?
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Who’s the Next Team to Make a Move?
The next NFL team that could be making a move and trading down in the draft is the Arizona Cardinals. After a very disappointing last two seasons, when they thought they had all the pieces to make a run, they decided to move onto a new regime.
With a new coach and front office pieces, it makes sense to trade their #3 overall pick down for more picks in the upcoming drafts. This gives them a chance to instill a new culture and draft young talent that fits their plans perfectly.
Of course, with all major decisions, there are pros and cons.
The Pros of Trading the #3 Pick Down
The reason the Cardinals seem like the next team to trade down is that there are so many positives to that decision.
Kyler Murray, the starting quarterback and former #1 overall pick, just signed a massive extension and is set to be the franchise QB for years to come. Even though he will miss some time in the NFL injury report with his ACL recovery, they are clearly in a rebuild situation and don’t need to pick one of the top 3 QBs in this year’s draft.
With teams that need a franchise QB in their near future, the market is massive for that #3 slot. The Cardinals could trade for a handful of picks and still keep a solid position in this year’s first round.
The Bears have shown what kind of compensation is needed for a #1 pick, and that has to be very exciting for the Cardinal’s front office in their search for a trade partner and their #3 pick.
Another reason to trade down would be the need they have to fill their roster. It is said that they will lose up to 30 players to free agency this season, leaving them with much room to fill. Would paying a rookie a top 3 salary be beneficial to them right now?
The only negative outcome attached to trading down seems to be the backlash the Cardinals might get from their fan base.
It’s widely known fan bases want to win and get sick of losing quickly. They might start to worry about the franchise seeing guys like Deandre Hopkins seeking a trade.
The pick that the fans want seems to be Will Anderson Jr., an edge rusher out of Alabama. He is widely considered the best talent in the draft, outside of the quarterback position. He could be the face of that defense, and potentially that franchise, if he plays at the level that the scouts say he can.
Still, the Cardinals can trade that pick down and also have a great chance to pick up an amazing talent in the first round. There are tons of weapons to add to help Kyler Murray and the offense, as well as potential game-changers on the defensive side of the ball.
Cardinals Culture Change
More than anything, this move is a cultural decision for a franchise that is in the worst spot they’ve been in a long time. They have a quarterback that has question marks all over the place, with a huge contract tied to him.
The new coaching staff will help and can get Murray back on track to become a great leader in that locker room. Now, that coaching staff can surround Murray with young talent and personalities that they want in their locker room.
The only issue that might get in the way of them making this trade would be the prospect of Will Anderson Jr. but is he worth risking that pick for? How many top-edge rushers pan out? I guess there has been a decent amount in a position that is so important in the league.
No matter how good Anderson is, a culture change is much more important in Arizona. No matter how much talent there is, culture and leadership are the two most important things for a team to be successful. Using this first year under a new regime to rebuild seems like the right thing to do.
Every decision an NFL team makes will have a massive reaction from their fans. It will be both negative and positive, depending on the move. This move seems like an easy decision to make for the Cardinals’ GM, Monti Ossenfort.
Getting more picks to rebuild this team, and even potentially an already-proven starter from a team, seems like the right move. Arizona is in shambles with rumors of how bad its facilities and culture have been the past few years. This is a chance to rebuild that building from the ground up.
Don’t expect the Cardinals to make any noise in the NFC West for the next year or two, but if Kyler Murray steps up his game and stays healthy, they are a few pieces on defense and an offensive weapon away from being a real problem in that division once again.