The NFL offseason is a time for teams to correct the problems from the previous season. Each coach and general manager must work together to fill voids on both sides of the ball with a combination of draft picks, trades and free agent pickups, while also letting go of the right players in order to stay under the salary cap.
According to Nate Davis of USA Today, the Arizona Cardinals did all of this successfully and passed the 2014 NFL offseason with a “B,” tied for third with the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins amongst all teams in the NFC.
GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians struck a nice balance between adding players who could vault a 10-win team over the playoff hump while finding others who should be cornerstones immediately or eventually. Keim badly needed a left tackle for immobile QB Carson Palmer and signed young Jared Veldheer for less than top dollar. Veteran Antonio Cromartie and first rounder Deone Bucannon bolster a secondary that should be formidable once injured S Tyrann Mathieu is ready.
The rest of the NFC West also earned high marks. The Seattle Seahawks came in first with an “A-” followed by the St. Louis Rams who earned a “B+” while the San Francisco 49ers rounded out the bottom of the group with a “C+.”
While Cardinals fans have to appreciate the praise and seeing the team rank above the 49ers, it’s still all talk at this point. Now it’s up to the newly acquired talent to prove themselves on the field in order to push Arizona into the playoffs for the first time since 2009.