Grading Every Arizona Cardinals' Major Offseason Move to Date

Andrew Nordmeier@@AndrewNordmeierContributor IIIJune 26, 2013

Grading Every Arizona Cardinals' Major Offseason Move to Date

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    The Arizona Cardinals have been very active in the off-season so far. There have been changes in the coaching staff in addition to roster moves as Arizona tries to recover from a 5-11 season in 2012. 

    In this article, we'll take a look back at the 12 biggest moves that shaped the team into what it is now. The NFL draft, signing of draft picks and undrafted free agents will not be part of this article. 

    Events will be in chronological order with the oldest ones at the beginning of the slideshow. Click start, and see how January helped to mold the Cardinals. 

January 8th: Cardinals Name Steve Keim General Manager

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    The first move that shaped the team was the promotion of Steve Keim to General Manager. He took over the role from Rod Graves who was released at the end of the season. Keim has spent 15 years in the organization and was most recently the Vice President of Player Personnel prior to this move. 

    This move is rather solid since Keim was part of the brain trust that has come up with some strong draft classes for the Cardinals. That part of his experience includes players like Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett and Adrian Wilson to name a few. 

    Promoting from within was the right move since the team still needed a head coach when Keim took the reins. It made the transition from the Ken Whisenhunt era to a new coach easier from a front-office standpoint. 

    GRADE: B

January 18th: Arizona Names Bruce Arians Head Coach

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    Bruce Arians was named the head coach of the Cardinals in mid-January. He was fresh off of a stint as the interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts that earned him Coach of the Year honors in the league. 

    Arizona hired him to replace Whisenhunt, but it was believed that defensive coordinator Ray Horton could have also been the next coach of the Cardinals. 

    Arians has seemingly gotten off to a good start with building rapport with the players and within the organization.

    The downside of hiring Arians was that it cost the Cardinals Horton as discussed on the next slide and in this Pro Football Talk article from January. 

    Grade: C

January 21st: Arizona Names Todd Bowles Defensive Coordinator

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    When Arians was hired as head coach, Todd Bowles wasn't far behind. Bowles didn't have much experience as a defensive coordinator yet was named to the position. His only experience in the NFL as a defensive coordinator came on an interim basis in Philadelphia after Juan Castillo was released in mid-October. 

    Bowles and Arians have a long history together as noted in this articleWhile Arians was picked, it pushed out an upset Horton. Horton wound up taking the defensive coordinator position for the Cleveland Browns

    The Eagles' went 1-9 with Bowles as defensive coordinator and gave up at least 28 points in each of the losses. 

    Grade: D

March 1: Arizona Cuts Stewart Bradley and William Gay

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    When the Cardinals cut Stewart Bradley and William Gay, they showed the new regime was willing to purge players off the roster that were not cap-friendly. 

    Bradley signed a five-year, $30 million contract in 2011 but never performed anywhere near close to his time in Philadelphia. Gay started 15 games for the Cardinals but was due to make more than $3 million in 2013 which sealed his fate. 

    The Cardinals were starting their makeover for 2013, but this was minimal compared to the rest of the month. 

    Grade: B

March 9: Arizona Releases Adrian Wilson

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    Adrian Wilson spent 12 years with the Arizona Cardinals and made it to the Pro Bowl five times. 

    And yet he was cut despite cutting his pay, as reported in this article

    Wilson was a steady force in the defensive secondary for Arizona, and it was still a surprise to see him get his walking papers despite his performance. He felt the proverbial writing was on the wall, according to this Arizona Republic article

    His departure, along with the release of cornerback Greg Toler, left the Cardinals' defensive backfield with few familiar faces. 

    Wilson wasn't out of work long, as he latched on with New England for a three-year deal. 

    Grade: D

March 11: Arizona Releases Beanie Wells

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    The cuts continued a couple days later when Beanie Wells was released by the team. Wells was plagued by a turf-toe injury and one to his knee that caused him to miss the first half of the season. It led to just 88 carries for the season and a paltry 234 yards for a weak 2.7 yards per carry average. 

    Wells had one good season in 2011 with 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns, but the injuries and Wells not being a good fit in Arians' system led to him getting cut. 

    Arizona couldn't have done worse at the running back position, so cutting Wells was a positive. 

    Wells was still trying to get back on an NFL roster. He was working out earlier this month for the Jaguars according to this article

    GRADE: B+

March 16: Arizona Releases Kevin Kolb

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    The axe continued to fall with Kolb getting cut loose in the middle of the month. He was due a $2 million roster bonus if he was on the roster a day later, and Arizona already paid out a $7 million roster bonus to him the previous season. 

    The Cardinals said enough was enough and made the right decision to cut bait on Kolb. He signed a 6-year, $63 million contract with $20 million in guaranteed money in 2011 with Arizona. For all that money, Arizona got a quarterback who was on the field for 15 of 32 games in two seasons and posted a 6-8 record. 

    The Cardinals also signed Drew Stanton to a 3-year, $8.2 million contract a couple days earlier, so there was no room left for Kolb on the roster. 

    Kolb signed with Buffalo and is expected to compete for the starting job with rookie EJ Manuel, according to

    GRADE: A

April 1: Arizona Signs Brian Hoyer, Releases John Skelton

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    Two of the four quarterbacks on the Cardinals' carousel had different fates sealed on the 1st of April. 

    John Skelton was released while Brian Hoyer signed a one-year contract with Arizona. 

    Hoyer performed adequately in the Cardinals' season finale at San Francisco. Skelton threw for 1,132 yards with two touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven games. 

    None of the four quarterbacks who played for Arizona last season performed overly well, so cutting Skelton was the right thing to do. He landed in Cincinnati and is expected to compete for a backup job behind Andy Dalton. 

    Hoyer wound up getting released May 13, according to this article. He signed a two-year deal with Cleveland later that week. Hoyer will also compete for a backup role with the Browns. 

    Grade: B

April 10: Arizona Signs Chilo Rachal

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    Arizona signed former Chicago offensive lineman Chilo Rachal on April 10. 

    Rachal's 2012 campaign with Chicago had an unusual ending. According to, Rachal left the team in November to tend to what were deemed "personal reasons." 

    Pro Football Talk reported that this wasn't the first time a family issue has impacted him and caused him to miss time from the game.

    Yet, Arizona signed him. Hopefully the personal things that have cropped up in his life are resolved, and he can focus on football. 

    Rachal struggled as a run blocker, and that's an element Arizona sorely needs, as the Cards finished last in rushing last season. 

    Grade: D

April 30: Arizona Releases Adam Snyder

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    Once the NFL draft was completed, Adam Snyder found himself rather expendable. 

    The Cardinals drafted a pair of guards with Jonathan Cooper in the first round and Earl Watford in the fourth round. Snyder was part of the offensive line that allowed 58 sacks last season, and that was a contributing factor in his release as well. 

    Arizona needed to upgrade its line through the draft and cut out the parts that weren't working. 

    Snyder signed a two-year deal to go back to NFC West foe San Francisco, according to

    Grade: C+

May 1: Arizona Trades Anthony Sherman to Kansas City for Javier Arenas

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    Anthony Sherman was shipped to Kansas City and the Cardinals found themselves without a fullback on their roster. The fullback position doesn't fit with Arians' coaching scheme, and his special teams work wasn't enough to keep him on the team.Sherman had three rushing yards for his career and 13 receptions in his two NFL seasons. 

    Arenas gives Arizona another cornerback to try and keep up with the pass-happy teams the Cardinals will play in 2013. He will be a free agent after the season. 

    Grade: B

May 10: Arizona Signs Karlos Dansby

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    Arizona signed linebacker Karlos Dansby to a one-year deal, according to Pro Football Talk

    Dansby spent the last three seasons in Miami after starting his career with six seasons in Arizona. He's coming off a career year with 134 combined tackles and should boost Arizona's porous run defense. 

    Dansby is also a great signing in light of the woes Daryl Washington has gone through this season. Washington is already facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Add to that more potential discipline from an arrest in May, and Dansby could be Arizona's savior at inside linebacker. 

    Grade: A