CARDINALS CORNER

Ossenfort: Isaiah Simmons trade about ‘getting right 53 in building’

Aug 24, 2023, 11:11 AM

The experiment that was Isaiah Simmons officially ran its course in Arizona on Thursday morning, with the Cardinals dealing the safety to the New York Giants for a 2024 seventh-round pick.

It’s a tough look for the franchise after it burned a 2020 first-round pick on the versatile prospect who could never find a permanent home in Arizona’s defense.

But at the end of the day, it was a necessary decision for Arizona’s new regime led by general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon, who continue their hard reset of the organization.

“The situation presented itself (Thursday morning) and just where we are in camp and where we are with the team, we thought it was the right move to make for us, the team, moving forward,” Ossenfort told reporters ahead of Arizona’s joint practice with Minnesota. “I wish Isaiah the best moving forward. He’s been here the past three seasons. … We just thought it was the best move to make.

“He did everything that we asked him to do,” Gannon added. “It’s just moving forward, we feel this is the best way in how we want to play football against other people. We’re going to try to put the best guys out there that function and do a good job for us and that’s what we felt like.”

It’s easy to link Simmons’ departure to his last showing as a Cardinal, where he was shown getting beat on numerous occasions in coverage and failed to make a touchdown-saving play on quarterback Shane Buechele near the goal line.

But while his outing could be seen as one of the final nails in the Arizona coffin, there was much more than went into the decision, said the GM.

“With all these things, it’s a culmination, we’re never going to make a snap judgment on one game or one play or anything like that,” Ossenfort said. “It’s really a culmination of since we got here in the spring and in the training camp. It’s a decision that we came to. Not really a reaction to one particular thing.”

Still, shipping out a 2020 first-rounder for that little of a return will definitely raise some eyebrows in the locker room, especially after Simmons filled the stat sheet with 99 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and four QB hits in 2022.

Trying to or not, a message has seemingly been sent to the rest of the franchise.

“We always tell the team no matter how you got here … once players get in our building, it doesn’t matter free agent, drafted, undrafted free agent, high draft pick, whatever,” Ossenfort said. “It’s about what you do for the team now. Ultimately, we have to make the best decision, we got to put the best 53 together that we can.

“Sending a message? No, I don’t think it was really a part of that. I think it’s really about building the team and getting the right 53 in the building.”

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