ESPN recently went through every NFL team and evaluated their offseason (Insider) based on personnel moves, draft selections and other pertinent additions. For the NFC, we know that teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers got stronger with the moves they made. It seems that the rich continued to get richer.
But how about the hometown Arizona Cardinals? Matt Williamson ended up giving them a 'C' for what they did this year. The thing is, that grade just does not seem accurate.
The Cardinals added guard Adam Snyder, cornerback William Gay, safety James Sanders and made other small moves this year, mainly because of how close to the cap they were. At one time, they were under $1 million away from the threshold.
Here is what Williamson had to say about the team's moves, via Revenge of the Birds:
In terms of veteran movement in free agency, the Cardinals had very little whatsoever. And status quo isn't good for this organization in a division that is getting increasingly difficult.
This comment seem a bit skewed because the team never expected to make big moves this year. That was their goal last year after adding Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley, Daryn Colledge and Richard Marshall. The additions they have made in 2012 have solely been for depth (besides Adam Snyder, who is expected to start at guard).
Not all of Williamson's appraisal was critical, though. He did see some light at the end of the tunnel for the Cardinals:
However, the Arizona defense got much better as the 2011 season went along and I love the skill position players on offense with the addition of Floyd, TE Rob Housler's maturation this past year and RB Ryan Williams returning from injury. The drafting of Floyd also should allow Andre Roberts to work from the slot, where he could excel. I also liked the selection of Lindley in the sixth round. Considering his competition at quarterback, there's a chance he'll be the starter down the line. But, even though the Cardinals made some fine value picks with offensive linemen and with Lindley, the questions up front and at quarterback are massive.
In the end, with the minor additions they made, the continued rise of their defense and the ongoing development of their young players, the Cards could be a team that challenges for the NFC West crown once again. That said, a 'C' hardly seems fair. I would give them somewhere between a 'B' and a 'B+'.
Will the Cardinals be headed back to the playoffs? We still don't know at this point. But by my estimation, they were able to help their chances this offseason.