Another offseason, another stretch of heavy Cardinals roster turnover
There’s been a theme to the Arizona Cardinals the past three offseasons, one that at its core puts the spotlight on general manager Steve Keim.
The team once again is one of the NFL’s leaders in roster turnover.
Heading into the 2017 season, OverTheCap.com listed Arizona first with the most quality snaps lost at 25.2% (quality snaps include lost players who were good enough to land on other NFL rosters). The same website took it from a more straightforward angle at the very start of the 2018 season, which showed the Cardinals again led the NFL in total snaps lost with 12,404 (6,934 offense and 5,470 defensive).
It’s a bit early on to project the 2019 roster or the production expected, but what we already know is the Cardinals have taken heavy losses from the 2018 campaign.
Lots of it is for good reason after a 3-13 season, but the overhaul also emphasizes how few known commodities Arizona is working with in terms of personnel.
Twenty-seven players who made the 53-man roster from 2018 remain with Arizona as of Friday, as the team closes the first week of full-team, albeit voluntary, organized team activities.
As of May 2019, the losses are significant. Assuming the Cardinals don’t bring back safety Tre Boston and linebacker Josh Bynes — two heavy contributors to the 2018 season who remain free agents — Arizona lost more than a third of its offensive snaps, according to snap counts provided by Pro Football Reference. Of those, 24.7% of them were quality snaps.
The defensive side of the ball will see even more turnover from 2018 to 2019.
The group lost 50% of its snaps with 39.3% being of quality players; Boston and Bynes were included because they remain productive NFL players despite being free agents at the moment.
Combine both sides of the ball, and that averages out to 32% of quality snaps lost. In other words, about a third of the Cardinals’ on-field production is being replaced.
The total sits at 9,917 snaps lost, per Pro Football Reference’s count, not the same extent of change from 2017-18, but still considerable turnover.
Stability is something all pro sports team covet.
To break from the current trend and find it, the onus lands on Keim, coach Kliff Kingsbury and their staffs to have signed the right free agents, drafted the right players and developed the entire roster in-house.