The NFL Trade Deadline is this Tuesday, November 1, at 4 p.m. ET. With the deadline quickly coming up, the Cardinals front office will have to decide on the direction of their franchise and what potential moves to make.
After losing 26-34 this past week to the Minnesota Vikings, the Cardinals now have a record of 3-5 and find themselves two games out of first place. Almost halfway through the season, their front office will have a big decision to make before the trade deadline and how they want to approach the rest of the year. This article will highlight the trade deadline three routes they can decide to take: making an aggressive playoff push, selling to retool, or simply staying put.
Aggressive Playoff Push
Reasoning: On one end, they could be aggressive at the deadline in hopes that they acquire a significant player or two that will help make that push to catch up to the top of the NFC West. Just last season they were a 11-6 playoff team and they’ve retained a lot of their core players this year. Their game this week is at home against the Seahawks. If they win this week, they could find themselves only one game out of first place with half the season still left to play.
Players to target: The Denver Broncos are a somewhat surprising 3-5 and could potentially be open to making a deal to gain back some of the picks they lost in their trade for Russell Wilson this offseason. The Cardinals need the most help on the defensive side of the ball, so a trade for linebacker Bradley Chubb could benefit both teams.
The Cleveland Browns are 2-5 and seem willing to part with running back Kareem Hunt, who is on the final year of his contract. Given starting running back James Conner’s injury history, it could make sense to trade for Hunt, depending on the assets required to get him.
Selling to Retool
Reasoning: The Cardinals are currently in last place in the NFC West. The other teams in the division? The reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, the first place Seattle Seahawks, and a well-balanced San Francisco 49ers team that also recently acquired star running back Christian McCaffrey. Even if they do happen to make the playoffs in the NFC West, the Cardinals have too many question marks to feel great about their chances to make a Super Bowl run.
Players to sell: Star defensive end J.J. Watt is now 33 years old and in the final year of his contract. If the Cardinals don’t see him as part of their future plans and fitting in with their window, it could make sense to deal Watt now to get something for him rather than letting him walk for nothing after this season. A team more ready to go on a championship run this season could offer future picks in exchange for the veteran Watt, who would instantly improve any defense he goes to.
Reasoning: the last option is to simply do nothing. The Cardinals are currently in “no mans” land, which definitely isn’t ideal. In other words, they are a 3-5 team that is only a year removed from making the playoffs, so it’s somewhat hard to gauge how talented this team actually is. If they decide to stay put at the deadline, they could put themselves in position to still be competitive this season and have a shot at the playoffs without compromising any of their future assets.
Out of these three options, I believe the best route for the Cardinals franchise to take would be selling to retool. While it would be hard to see someone like J.J. Watt go, it’s pretty apparent at this point that the Cardinals have too many holes in their roster to feel great about their chances to make a deep playoff run. Selling a veteran such as Watt to a contender at the deadline would put us in a better position down the road. With divisional teams like the Rams and 49ers sacrificing part of their future picks to go “all in” now, it could make more sense for the Cardinals to be more patient and zig while other teams zag.
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