What lies in store for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023?

The 2023 National Football League (NFL) season is several months away, but nobody connected with the Arizona Cardinals is enjoying the break because there is a huge rebuilding task for those involved at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Last season, the Cardinals attempted to become only the third team in NFL history to host and win the Super Bowl. Hopes were high after finishing 11-6 the season before, but the Cardinals slumped to a 4-13 record, the joint worst number of losses with the 2000 and 2018 teams.

Let’s not beat around the bush; the 2022 Cardinals were terrible. So bad, in fact, that their 4-13 record cost head coach Kliff Kingsbury his job and ultimately resulted in Steve Keim stepping down from his post of general manager one day after the campaign ended. Jonathan Gannon and Monti Ossenfort have replaced them, and they’re the men tasked with bringing football glory to Arizona.

The Cardinals averaged only 20 points per game during the regular season but allowed 26.4. Such a chasm between for and against will always result in a losing record. Last season was the second time in four years that the Cardinals finished 4-13, although they were 8-9 in the online moneyline vs spread betting markets. Their poor record, coupled with losing the legendary J.J. Watt and not knowing when quarterback Kyler Murray will return from a severe injury, sees the current Cardinals roster priced as the joint least likely, with the Houston Texans, to win Super Bowl LVIII in Nevada, in February 2024. A Super Bowl win is unlikely, but the Cardinals have to aim for the playoff places, having only featured post-season once in the past seven years.

Kyler Murray is key to any Arizona hopes of success

Kyler Murray

Murray joined the Cardinals in 2019 when they selected the Bedford, Texas, native as the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Amazingly, the MLB’s Oakland Athletics drafted Murray as the ninth overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, but he decided to forgo his baseball career to focus on football.

Many football pundits questioned the Cardinals’ decision to go all out for Murray, mainly because he is the shortest quarterback drafted in NFL history; he stands at 5ft 10in. However, his high school and college statistics show Murray has incredible talent. Murray has shown that talent during his Cardinals career to date, but now has question marks about his future following an ACL tear on Week 14 against the New England Patriots. The injury will almost certainly result in Murray missing the start of the 2023 NFL season. That is terrible news for Cardinals fans because none of the other three quarterbacks on the roster are anywhere near as talented as Murray.

Could trading DeAndre Hopkins be in the cards?

DeAndre Hopkins is a future Hall of Famer who has been with the Cardinals since 2020. His 2021 season was cut short by a torn MCL, and he missed the first six games of 2022 for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Moreover, Hopkins will be 31 during the 2023 season, so he is not getting any younger. Furthermore, his contract results in a $30.7 million cap hit in 2023 and $26.2 million in 2024, meaning now could be the time to trade him out of the desert. Some potential suitors out there would trade early-round picks to have a wide receiver of Hopkins’ quality on their books. If the Cardinals are going to overhaul the roster and flourish it with youth, this could be one way of doing it.

The Cardinals’ first-round pick could become an instant hit

The Cardinals have the third overall pick of the current crop of supremely talented youngsters, and there is every chance they will get their hands on a future superstar. Everyone expects the Chicago Bears to draft quarterback Bryce Young as the first overall pick and the Houston Texans to select C.J. Stroud, another quarterback, with their second overall pick. This leaves the Cardinals with the chance to secure the services of defensive lineman Jalen Carter. The 6ft 3in 310-pound man-mountain was arguably the best defender from the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs team that had five first-round picks. If Carter is still there when it’s the Cardinals’ time to act, signing him up is a no-brainer.