ESPN’s Bill Barnwell is ranking the best and worst offseasons in the NFL for 2022 and he started his ranking off at the bottom of the list.
It didn’t take long for him to get to the Arizona Cardinals.
Barnwell’s ranking has the Cardinals at No. 30 in the NFL, or the third-worst offseason in the league.
It’s safe to say he is not a fan of Arizona’s moves in free agency and the NFL draft.
Barnwell slammed the Cardinals in writing about “what went wrong” in Arizona’s offseason.
“The Cardinals just aren’t very good at valuing players within the context of the league, and they get too attached to the recent past,” he wrote. “Even if (Marquise) Brown does pan out, trading a first-round pick for the former Ravens wideout basically prices the Cardinals into extending their new receiver, meaning they’ll be investing more than $ 40 million between (DeAndre) Hopkins and Brown. That’s before getting into the second-round picks they’ve used on Andy Isabella, Rondale Moore and tight end Trey McBride – and the new deal the Cards gave Zach Ertz to keep the longtime Eagles tight end around. “
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Not everything was bad in the Cardinals’ offseason, however, although Barnwell didn’t exactly give the Cardinals a glowing review in his “what went right” segment about the team.
“Not a ton,” he wrote. ‘I’m more optimistic about Marquise Brown than most analysts, and I think his numbers could see a bump by moving from a slow, run-first offense to one that plays fast and throws at one of the higher rates in football.’ m not blaming the Cardinals for DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension, and while I would have preferred just drafting a wide receiver, trading for Brown was a reasonable Plan B. There were a couple of moves on the margins that I liked. Guard Will Hernandez probably isn’t ‘t going to live up to his status as the 34th pick in the 2018 draft (where he was taken immediately ahead of Nick Chubb, Darius Leonard and Braden Smith), but getting him on a one-year deal for just under $ 1.2 million was solid value. Dennis Gardeck had seven sacks in 2020, and while he couldn’t repeat the feat in 2021, re-signing the former undrafted free agent to a three-year, $ 10 million deal was reasonable enough. “
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While being ranked no. 30 in the NFL for its offseason isn’t exactly anything to be happy about, Cardinals fans can at least take solace in the fact that Barnwell has a rival division ranked below Arizona.
The Seattle Seahawks come in at No. 32 in his offseason ranking. Yes, they are ranked last.
Barnwell blasted Seattle for the Russell Wilson trade to the Denver Broncos in his ranking.
“They went from having a true superstar under center to having two replacement-level veterans and no clear path toward their next franchise passer,” he wrote. “That’s a disaster.”
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Barnwell isn’t the only writer to come down hard on Arizona’s offseason recently.
NBC Sports’ Peter King recently ranked the Cardinals No. 22 in his NFL power rankings.
He wrote: “Something doesn’t feel right about the 2022 Cards. Part of it’s pointed dissatisfaction of quarterback Kyler Murray and his agent over a new contract. Part is the six-game suspension of the best player on the offense, DeAndre Hopkins , to start the season. (That means Hopkins will miss at least 13 games over 2021 and ’22.) Hollywood Brown arrived in trades to buttress the receiving corps, but Christian Kirk left in free agency, as did the most dangerous player on defense —Pass-rusher Chandler Jones. It’s an odd vibe around the team, and the attitude in negotiations with Murray this summer will tell a lot about the chemistry of the locker room coming training camp. “
Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton recently led off a list of the “most overrated” NFL teams this season with Arizona.
He wrote: “The Cardinals’ biggest problem from 2021 wasn’t addressed because of cap limitations: their depth. They won’t be able to withstand injuries to defensive end JJ Watt, running back Chase Edmonds or offensive lineman Rodney Hudson or any absence from quarterback Kyler Murray.The only position at which they have better depth is tight end.Arizona may reach nine wins, but it would need excellent injury luck and a red-hot Murray… An especially hard start to the year would put extra stress on the team to deliver without one of its best players. That pressure could be enough to knock the Cardinals out of the NFC West race before it even begins. “
Could it be a long season in Arizona for the Cardinals?
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Reach Jeremy Cluff at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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