ESPN gives Cardinals ‘D’ offseason regrade, rank Bradford worst signing

Jan 16, 2019, 6:55 AM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford watches the closing moments of an NFL football game from...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford watches the closing moments of an NFL football game from the sideline after being pulled for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen during the second half against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

It is safe to say the disappointing 3-13 finish to the 2018 season for the Arizona Cardinals was not what the team planned for over the past offseason.

Before the season got underway, ESPN’s Mike Sando gave every NFL team a grade for their offseason using a basic A+ to F scale.

At the time, Sando gave the Cardinals a B+ for moves such as filling their head coaching vacancy, selecting QB Josh Rosen with the 10th pick in the draft and signing veteran QB Sam Bradford to a one-year deal.

Seven months later, Sando has regraded every team’s offseason, downgrading the Cardinals to a D.

The re-grade takes a huge hit for a range of reasons, starting with the summer DUI arrest and suspension involving general manager Steve Keim. The midseason firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and postseason firing of Wilks meant that much of the Cardinals’ 2018 offseason foundation laying was for nothing. Rosen still could be the answer at quarterback, which prevents the re-grade from sinking into the failing range. Many of the other moves, including Sam Bradford’s expensive signing, dragged down the grade in retrospect.

On top of the downgrade, ESPN’s Dan Graziano picked Bradford for his worst free-agent signing of 2018.

The Cardinals knew Bradford’s knee was bad and they signed him anyway to a contract that included $15 million in full guarantees at signing. Bradford played just three games for the Cardinals before rookie Josh Rosen took over as their starter, and the veteran signal-caller was released later in the season.

Bradford threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions in the three games he played this season before being replaced by Rosen. Bradford was then released by the Cardinals on Nov. 3.

The Cardinals will enter this offseason a little bit differently than last year’s. Last offseason, the Cardinals were the only team to lose both their starting quarterback and head coach. With the signing of Kliff Kingsbury and Rosen set to be the QB for years to come, the Cardinals will have more time to focus on adding talent elsewhere and decide who they will select with the first pick in the NFL Draft.

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ESPN gives Cardinals ‘D’ offseason regrade, rank Bradford worst signing