ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals most improved team of the offseason, say 2 NFL writers

May 24, 2020, 5:28 PM | Updated: May 25, 2020, 8:22 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

After a last-place finish in the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals are getting praise from writers for an offseason full of generally well-regarded moves.

The Cardinals were the most-improved team this offseason, NFL analyst Field Yates and Football Outsiders editor Aaron Schatz wrote in an ESPN article.

Both pointed at the acquisition of top-tier wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans in exchange for running back David Johnson and the Cardinals’ 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Hopkins, who finished last season with 1,165 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, joins a dynamic wide receiver core that features Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

Commanding this group of receivers is Kyler Murray, who is coming off a season in which he won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

NFL fantasy writer Mike Clay in the same article predicted the 22-year-old Murray to be the 2020 MVP, citing how Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson both came out of nowhere in their respective second seasons.

Schatz and Yates also gave high praise to the team for additions made on the other side of the ball, an area that desperately needed attention after the Cardinals finished the season ranked No. 28 in team defense.

A widely-viewed value pick of Isaiah Simmons at No. 8 in the draft out of Clemson, along with the acquisition of Jordan Phillips and Devon Kennard, have Schatz and Yates confident about the team’s chances in 2020.

“Supplement those moves with need-filling free-agent additions and the expected improvement of Kyler Murray, and this team feels like one primed to make a leap,” Yates said.

The other popular team of choice for most improved was the Tampa Buccaneers, which three of the six writers picked.

It’s easy to see why after the team signed quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to play alongside his longtime signal-caller.

Those two along with a defense that is seen as young and expected to improve made Tampa Bay a hot pick for the most improved team.

The Philidelphia Eagles also got a vote for most improved.

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