Arizona Cardinals: Top Three Offseason Moves So Far

It is the NFL off-season and the Arizona Cardinals have been extremely busy. There have been some splashes and some others that have gone under the national radar for the most part. But, all in all, this team looks ready to compete next season. The biggest moves this off-season may surprise you. So without further ado, from best to third-best here are the best moves the Arizona Cardinals have made thus far.

Trading for Rodney Hudson

It seems that looking around the league, a lot of people did not expect the Arizona Cardinals to make the trade for former Las Vegas Raiders Center Rodney Hudson. The three-time pro bowler came to Arizona in exchange for a third-round draft pick in this year’s NFL draft.

For some reason to sweeten the deal for the Cardinals, the Raiders graciously threw in a seventh-round pick as well in addition to the pro bowl offensive anchor. In the 2020 season, Hudson was not flagged at all and has an impressive resume to bring to this team. The fact he had no penalties is really going to help the Cardinals out this season. Especially, after he struggled with false start penalties last year. The biggest thing that Rodney Hudson will bring however is leadership.

This experienced center will be able to help be Kyler Murray get this offense to another level. A true sign of his leadership is the fact that he is a four-time winner of the Raiders’ Commitment to Excellence Award as voted on by teammates. It is an award that is presented to the Raider who “best exemplifies hard work, leadership, and excellence on and off the field.” The excellence on the field can really be showcased in just two statistics coming from Pro Football Focus. Hudson only allowed three sacks allowed in 3,445 pass-blocking snaps with the Raiders. Also, he missed just one game in six seasons with the team and was selected to three Pro Bowls.

Signing of J.J. Watt

This particular signing sent shock waves throughout the NFL because similar to Rodney Hudson, no one saw the Cardinals in the running. However, after a pitch that was headlined by coaches, teammates, Frank Caliendo, and Blake Shelton. They got him.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Watt ranked 15th out of 119 qualified pass-rushers in pass rush win rate in 2020. Looking at the bare statistics he did not really impress anyone last season. But, watching the film, one can notice how much he was double-teamed and ran away from. It’s as if all of the Houston Texans opponents’ offensive line game plan was basically “avoid 99 and we can win”.

Signing a guy like J.J. Watt is deeper than the stats, however, J.J. is a culture creator. And after the Cardinals pooped the bed when it mattered most last season, they were in desperate need of leadership on both sides of the ball.

Kliff Kingsbury after meeting Watt spoke of his leadership, “You saw and you’ve heard some of those quotes come out of Tampa with Tom (Brady), and guys just don’t want to let that type of player with that type of work ethic, and that type of legend — they don’t want to let him down. They don’t want to be that guy that doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain,” he continued,“J.J. brings a similar presence with all he’s accomplished and his work ethic and the type of person he is. So, I do think that can be a big proponent to where we’re trying to head this next season.”

Retaining Markus Golden

Unlike the other two, this wasn’t the biggest nationwide splash, but it is something that deserves to be on this list. Sure, Haason Reddick had that monster game against the New York Giants. And everyone including me wanted him to come back on a nice “prove it” contract and hope he can replicate next season.

Though after I looked at it a while, I came to the conclusion (as did the Cardinals) that Markus Golden was actually the better choice. In eight games last season Golden acquired three sacks, 23 tackles, four of which were for losses, an interception, two passes defended, and a forced fumble to close out the season.

Luckily for the Cardinals, he was so thankful for saving him from the Giants. He ended up taking an extremely team-friendly deal to stay with Arizona. He agreed to a two-year contract that could be worth up to nine million dollars.

This is one of those ripple effect moves because of the enthusiasm he brings to the game and the organization. Though it may seem small, enthusiastic members of an organization can really help change the direction that the organization will go.

Luckily there is still some off-season left to go including the draft for Cardinals general manager Steve Keim to be able to further bolster this roster.

What do you think the Cardinals biggest move has been so far? Leave a comment below and be sure to keep it right here for all of your NFL news.

Follow Corey on Twitter @CoreyDecker11.

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