The Arizona Cardinals are down both of their top running backs because of injury, but a trade-deadline move for reportedly available running back DeAngelo Williams is not a move Arizona should buy into.
With money and assets tied into the position, and an offensive line that is the obvious root of the rushing problems, making the deal just doesn't add up for the Cardinals.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the availability of Williams Sunday morning.
Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer expanded Schefter's findings, reporting this week that at least one playoff-contending team had reached out to the Panthers about Williams.
Running back DeAngelo Williams has been the subject of a potential trade. A team source told the Observer that at least one playoff-contending team has reached out to the Panthers about possibly trading for the back.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, when given a chance earlier this week, did not confirm or deny the rumors that Williams was on the trade block.
Could the Cardinals be the "playoff-contending team" that Jones reports? Unlikely.
For starters, the Cardinals already have money tied in both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams at running back.
Wells, currently on the designated to return IR list, will make almost $2 million over this season and the next, while Williams, on season-ending IR, stands to make near that over the next three. The Cardinals used high picks on each player.
Adding DeAngelo Williams, who is owed $2.6 million over the rest of this season and $18 million over the next three years, adds a significant chunk to the payroll. More than likely, the Cardinals would have to release Williams and his horrendous contract after this season.
Also, Wells will come of the IR list in Week 12. Williams would be a rental player to the highest degree.
However, the crux of the issue is the offensive line Williams would be inheriting in Arizona. Without question, the Cardinals issues rushing the football run much deeper than the back receiving the carries.
It starts up front.
An offensive line that has allowed an NFL-high 39 sacks this season also ranks as arguably the NFL's worst in the run game. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Cardinals offensive line has graded out as the worst in the NFL in blocking the run in 2012.
Among the six offensive linemen that have played over 100 snaps in Arizona this season, only tackle Bobby Massie grades out positively.
Things hit rock bottom Monday night, when Arizona rushed for just seven yards on nine carries against the San Francisco 49ers. The seven yards represent the lowest run total for an NFL team in over a quarter century.
Adding a back, even one with some talent like Williams, isn't going to change the fact that the Cardinals simply can't block either the pass or run this season. The draft pick or picks that Arizona will likely have to give up to the Panthers could help improve the offensive line next April.
There's no doubting that the Cardinals need more production out of the run game, and injuries at the running back position have helped cripple those efforts.
But spending a valuable draft pick or two and millions of dollars on Williams, who may not even help considering the state of the offensive line, doesn't make a lot of sense for the Cardinals before Thursday's deadline.
Expect the Cardinals to stay put with their roster and ride out the injury storm at the position until Wells can return later this season. Williams likely is staying in Carolina past Thursday.
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