Under current general manager Steve Keim, there have been a plethora of moves made that have both helped and hindered the squad, and while this article looks at the entire history of the team, his personnel moves will be focused on a bunch.
The earth-shattering trade that went down this past offseason leads off this list, as the Houston Texans and head coach / general manager hybrid that is Bill O’Brien was not all that keen (apparently) on keeping what was easily the best player on his team in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The former Clemson Tiger, who made the Pro Bowl four times and was also an All-Pro selection for four seasons, was shipped out to the Cardinals, along with a fourth-round selection in this year’s draft, in return for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection, and a 2021 fourth-round selection.
Now, both of these players in their primes are generational talents, ones that would easily rank in the top 10 of their respective positional groups. But they have each taken a bit of a different path through their careers lately, to the point where this deal looks like absolute highway robbery that works in the favor of the Cardinals.
Hopkins is still in the prime of his career, and while the reason that he was in search of more money and that was a driving reason behind why O’Brien decided to ship him out, he was vastly underpaid for the type of superstar that he is, so the ask was not unreasonable.
For Keim, he was able to restock the cupboard at WR, giving the team another superstar to take the reigns from old man Larry Fitzgerald when he finally decides to hand up the cleats, and Hopkins pairs well with Fitz, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, and others. To also ship out Johnson, who was taking up a fairly important roster spot and a bunch of money to sit on the bench behind a player that will be talked about later is also a plus to help clear the books.
When Cardinals’ fans hear the names John Skelton, Max Hall, and Derek Anderson, there commonly are obscenities being thrown around, objects being tossed around, or even both. The quarterback play that plagued the Cards in the 2010 season was nothing short of atrocious.
Insert Carson Palmer three years later.
Kevin Kolb was originally acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for a second-round pick by former Cardinals’ GM Rod Graves, but that experiment never amounted to much, and the Cards seemed to be back to square one.
After Palmer was not apparently fitting into the long-term plans of the Oakland Raiders, the Cards shipped only a sixth and a seventh-round selection to the Raiders in return for Palmer in 2013, who’s days back in Cincinnati helped define how good of a career he had.
But once he arrived in the desert, he put together great seasons of football, including his 2015 year when he was a second-team All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowler as well, helping lead the Cardinals to some great success all while cementing himself as one of the best QBs in Arizona’s history.
What looks to be the third and final member of the clear-cut winners club from Keim’s leadership, at least up to this point, acquiring defensive end Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots back in 2016 represents a victory that the Cardinals are still able to reap today.
Having shipped out first-round pick Jonathon Cooper and a second-round selection in 2016 in return for Jones, the Cardinals traded in a bust of an offensive lineman and a second-rounder in return for a player that still projects to be a future Hall of Famer.
In his first four seasons on the team, Jones put up 60!?! sacks, becoming a member of a very select club of players that have been able to produce 60 or more sacks in the span of four seasons in the NFL.
The lone non-Steve Keim deal on this list takes us all the way back to 1995 when the team was being led by the late Buddy Ryan.
From the New York Jets, wide receiver Rob Moore was acquired, sending a first and a second-round selection, as well as running back Ronald Moore, to the Jets for their lone Pro Bowl player. For Rob Moore, his arrival in Arizona with the then-named Phoenix Cardinals added up to 5,110 yards on 322 receptions, scoring 27 touchdowns across five seasons.
His first five seasons in the league with the Jets produced only two seasons of 900+ receiving yards, yet Rob Moore produced 900+ yards in four consecutive seasons with the Cardinals, including leading the league with 1,584 receiving yards and 99 yards per game in 1997.
‘97 was also the same year that Rob Moore was a first-team All Pro selection and was voted into the Pro Bowl, so it is quite obvious that the Cardinals got the best out of the 1990 NFL Supplemental Draft’s first overall selection.
The final entry on this list is one that happened quite recently too, as the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals came to an agreement on a deal that sent running back Kenyan Drake to the Cardinals in return for conditional 2020 draft pick that was originally a sixth-round selection but, if certain criteria were met, would turn into a fifth-rounder.
All Drake did was help solidify the running back position when starter David Johnson and backup Chase Edmunds were facing injury recoveries. Drake had experienced considerable success with the Dolphins but he just was not seeing the field enough to justify him staying there, so a trade to the desert was something that helped both him and the Cardinals in the long run.
The team resigned Drake in the offseason as he agreed to his tender offer, and while the interest between the two parties exists when it comes to locking Drake up on a long-term deal, that has not been a ton of progress made on that front currently. However, with the fact that Drake has been given the keys straight-out as the team’s leader in the backfield, it should be quite obvious that Drake will want to remain as a member of the Cardinals due to how big of a role he should have in ‘20 and beyond.