July 1, 2022

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Top Takeaways From The Cardinals’ 2022 Offseason

5 min read
Top Takeaways From The Cardinals' 2022 Offseason



The offseason work – at least, the stuff happening at the Dignity Health Training Center – is over.

Coaches are on vacation. Veterans have scattered, although many (like Hollywood Brown mentioned on the final day) will still be doing a lot of prep for training camp in late July. The Cardinals had a good chunk of players attend the voluntary work, and all but one player (we will get to that) took part in the final two-day mandatory minicamp.

There is only so much to glean from football in shorts without contact. (And even less when most work is closed to reporting.) But there are things to note with these months now over, and the countdown for the next work in jerseys now beginning, and what it might mean for the Cardinals this season.

THE KYLER MURRAY SITUATION HAS CALMED BUT ISN’T SOLVED

When the offseason started, it didn’t take long for Kyler Murray‘s desire for a contract extension to become national news. But the drama faded, helped in part when Murray took media questions for the lone time this offseason, saying “I’m not really too worried about my future as a Cardinal.” Murray appeared at minicamp. Reports have said he won’t come to training camp without a new deal – coach Kliff Kingsbury declined to say if that might happen, calling it a question for Kyler – so the waiting now begins.

“We’re about to make him, I’m sure, the highest-paid player in this franchise’s history, and so, he understands what comes with that,” Kingsbury said this week.

Vacations are beginning for the front office and even owner Michael Bidwill, so some down time would naturally make this a waiting game for now. Whatever else has and might happen with the franchise this offseason, the Murray contract situation will remain top of the depth chart until there is some sort of end game.

PLAYING A THIRD OF THE SEASON WITHOUT D-HOP

The trade for Marquise Brown made the Cardinals’ receiving corps – after the free-agent loss of Christian Kirk – look pretty good. Then the trade just looked necessary with the news of DeAndre Hopkinssix-game suspension arriving a few days later. It’s never good to lose your best non-QB offensive weapon. But the Cardinals at least had an offseason to work through it, plus some run-up time in training camp. Brown’s arrival will help, and as good as Hopkins is, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green and Zach Ertz and James Conner really should be enough to aid Kyler Murray offensively. Hopkins was around the entire offseason, rehabbing daily around the team. The lost six games are water under the bridge. The Cardinals have to tread water until the 11 games Hop can play.

RODNEY HUDSON’S ABSENCE AND THE OFFENSIVE LINE

When starting center Rodney Hudson wasn’t at the voluntary OTAs, it wasn’t a surprise, because there were a handful of veterans who chose to work out away from the team for the bulk of the offseason. But he was missing at minicamp, and then Kingsbury noted it was unexcused and that the two parties were working through some things. While the specifics aren’t known, if Hudson isn’t around, there is certainly a trickle-down effect. Justin Pugh talked about giving center a shot and how it could potentially extend his career, but if Pugh is the center, there then become a hole at left guard. Like the Murray contract, it would benefit the Cardinals greatly to have clarity with Hudson before practices resume next month.

RONDALE MOORE SEEMS PRIMED

Hop may be out for part of the season, but Moore is ready to make a jump in his second season. The wide receiver will have opportunity after the departure of Christian Kirk, and he has had the right mindset since he was drafted last season. Kingsbury has hinted that Moore was frustrated he wasn’t more of a factor as a rookie, but now the Cardinals will need him without Kirk and, early in the season, without Hopkins. Moore can be a game-changer with his speed and elusiveness when he gets his hands on the ball, and with the way he has worked this offseason, he is driven to be that player.

THE POTENTIAL OF KEIM-TIME SIGNS

The Cardinals did sign a veteran cornerback on Thursday in Josh Jackson, but after the tragic death of Jeff Gladney, adding another veteran corner before training camp would make sense. Potentially adding a veteran center, depending on Hudson’s situation, has jumped to the forefront of possibilities. Maybe even a veteran pass rusher and/or defensive lineman. The Cardinals are at the 90-man roster limit now (plus international tight end Bernhard Seikovits) so it’s not as if there are open spots on the team. But it almost feels inevitable that GM Steve Keim will make a move, in part because he almost always does.

THE SPOTLIGHT IS ALREADY ON ZAVEN COLLINS

When you are a first-round pick, your development is going to be a focus anyway. But Jordan Hicks was let go to clear the way totally for Zaven Collins. All the right things are being said about how Collins is working and preparing, including from Collins himself. But training camp will be when it will become more obvious the direction defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is going to go with the talented Collins. Collins himself made it sound like he could be part of more committee work again. Maybe that includes calling the defense. The Cardinals need to have Collins step forward quickly.

THE RUNNING BACK ROOM IS STUFFED

Chase Edmonds left while Conner signed his extension, so the next question was who might get the Edmonds role. The team drafted Keaontay Ingram They signed the experienced Darrel Williams. And there are still holdovers Jonathan Ward and Eno Benjamin, the former who has excelled on special teams and the latter who has been getting praise from Kingsbury. Benjamin makes a lot of sense as a replacement for Edmonds in body type and game, although the thick Williams has been a producer for the Chiefs. At most, the Cardinals figured to keep four backs. But after both Conner and Edmonds missed hunks of time last season, having options to fill in is necessary – and the competition heading into camp will be fascinating to watch behind Conner.

https://www.azcardinals.com/news/top-takeaways-from-the-cardinals-2022-offseason