Cardinals Doing their 'Due Diligence' at Trade Deadline
With the NFL trade deadline less than two weeks away, on Nov. 3, contenders have been making moves. The Baltimore Ravens acquired Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and the Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent running back Le’Veon Bell.
Friday afternoon, the Cardinals traded a sixth-round pick in 2021 for outside linebacker Markus Golden, who was previously with Arizona from 2015-2018. Golden adds depth to the pass rush that is missing star Chandler Jones for the season (biceps).
Could there be more moves coming?
The Cardinals are 4-2, 1.5 games behind their next opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, for the NFC West lead. Entering Week 7, Arizona is tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the top wild-card spot in the NFC playoff picture.
The Cardinals have a Sunday Night Football matchup against the Seahawks and then the bye week. That presents an opportunity for the team to evaluate where it stands against a strong opponent and then explore more options leading into the deadline.
General manager Steve Keim was on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM for his weekly Friday morning visit and discussed his mindset ahead of Nov. 3.
"Well, as always, we are certainly doing our due diligence, and we've had several conversations," Keim said. "I wouldn't say there's any deals imminent, but if there's an opportunity for us in the next couple days to make a trade that can improve our roster, we’ll certainly take that chance. But, it's like anything else; it takes two to tango and these conversations are always ongoing."
He said this hours before making a deal.
A lot goes into a midseason trade in a normal year. Keim alluded to the contract and financial commitments. But this is a season in which teammates may be taking longer to get accustomed to each other due to a lack of offseason training and shortended preseason without any game. The Cardinals still have some meshing work to do heading into Week 7.
Adding a new body to the team, especially someone who expects to play right away, could create chemistry questions that need to be sorted out on the fly.
"There's a million different moving parts that you just don't think about on a daily basis that once you're in my position, you have to think about those things and how it'll affect your roster moving forward," Keim said. "And if the guy doesn't pan out, you gave up draft compensation and you're stuck financially. So, there's a lot of things that you take into account and if it makes sense. You've seen in the past DeAndre Hopkins, Chandler Jones, Carson Palmer, whoever it was we drafted for it made sense for us and I think it worked out."
Aside from the Golden addition, the Cardinals have been mostly active through signing veterans to their practice squad for depth and to find a fit. Longtime starting cornerback Prince Amukamara is there now. The Cardinals signed and eventually released former Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward.
With reeling teams selling already, there could be a market for the Cardinals to make more drastic upgrades. Whether they feel it is necessary is the question.
The Cardinals worked to help the depth of the pass rush, but Golden only has one start this year and Haason Reddick and Devon Kennard have played well in that spot. Keim clearly believed the team needed more experienced players, especially if someone else goes down.
The Cardinals have been without tight end Maxx Williams (ankle) since Week 1, and he is still on reserve/injured. That is an area that has received some speculation, but if Williams is back after the bye, then that position gains its depth back.
If right guard J.R. Sweezy misses a lot of time (on reserve/injured with an elbow issue), the Cardinals could look into an interior lineman. However, other teams are often reluctant to trade their depth on the line. Perhaps they call about cornerbacks given that Dre Kirkpatrick has missed a few practices with various injuries.
Or, the Golden move could be the biggest one Keim makes this season. But, he made it clear that they are keeping their options open in case something pops up in the next 10 days.