The Arizona Cardinals certainly want to rebound from a disappointing 4-13 season in the 2023 NFL campaign. Despite falling short of playoff contention, the team faces the opportunity to revamp its lineup and instigate substantial changes. As the Cardinals evaluate their strategic options for the 2024 offseason, three players have surfaced as plausible candidates for trade or release. These are Zach Pascal, DJ Humphries, and Dennis Daley. These individuals hold the potential to furnish the team with assets through trades. That would afford the Cardinals the chance to address critical areas of deficiency and fortify their stance for the impending season.
Cardinals' 2023 Season
The 2023 season marked the Arizona Cardinals' first campaign with new head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort. It was a very tough season for the team as they lost eight of their first nine games. This was mainly due to the injury of star quarterback Kyler Murray, who missed more than half of the season.
After a defeat to the Houston Texans in Week 11, the Cardinals guaranteed their second consecutive losing season. Subsequently, another loss to the Los Angeles Rams precipitated their second successive season with double-digit losses. The Cardinals' playoff aspirations were dashed after succumbing to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15, marking their second consecutive season of playoff absence. Following an upset triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17, the Cardinals replicated their 4–13 record from the previous year.
It's worth noting that star wideout DeAndre Hopkins was absent from the roster for the first time since 2019. He was released during the offseason.
The Cardinals appear poised to construct their roster around quarterback Kyler Murray in the foreseeable future. They do have a considerable cap space. However, the Cardinals might explore the prospect of parting ways with certain assets to further this objective.
One of them is Budda Baker, who has been a standout performer in Arizona's defensive lineup. He will enter the final year of his contract and could potentially yield significant returns from a team contending for the title. We think he will stay, though.
Another option is trading offensive tackle DJ Humphries. He could primarily serve to alleviate cap constraints. He holds intrinsic value to teams in need of tackle reinforcement. Such a trade could yield a cap space savings of $9 million for the Cardinals. Additionally, the Cardinals might entertain the notion of trading down in April's draft. That's a strategy they employed the preceding year, thereby securing the Houston Texans' first-rounder for 2024 in the process.
Here we will look at the three cut candidates on the Arizona Cardinals' roster entering the 2024 NFL offseason.
Zach Pascal, WR
Last offseason, wide receiver Zach Pascal inked a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cardinals. However, his impact in the passing game fell short of expectations. Despite appearing in 14 games, Pascal managed just four receptions for 19 yards. In addition, his special teams contributions matched his offensive involvement with 202 snaps each. Should the Cardinals opt to part ways with Pascal, they stand to save $1.9 million against the 2024 cap. This offers them additional resources to bolster their support around Murray.
DJ Humphries, OL
Yes, the Cardinals may not rush to sever ties with Humphries. However, trading their 2015 first-round pick is a prospect they'll likely entertain. Despite being a Pro Bowler in 2021, Humphries' performance has been inconsistent. This has also been compounded by recent injury setbacks. A neck injury limited his appearances to eight games in 2022, and a torn ACL in Week 17 of the last season further compounded his struggles. Prior to the injury, Humphries' performance was already subpar. This was reflected in nine penalties and four sacks allowed, according to PFF.
With an existing MCL injury and impending ACL surgery pending its recovery, Humphries may miss the start of the 2024 season. Releasing Humphries post-June 1 would free up $16 million in cap space. This is also considering the Cardinals' potential pursuit of an upgrade at left tackle.
Dennis Daley, OL
The Cardinals might contemplate parting ways with backup offensive lineman Dennis Daley to further alleviate salary obligations. The 2019 sixth-round selection signed a two-year, $3.2 million contract last offseason but saw limited action on the field.
Daley's season was marred by an ankle injury that placed him on injured reserve until October. Despite making one start in five appearances, his performance was lackluster. He yielded two sacks in 144 offensive snaps per PFF. Releasing the 27-year-old before the final year of his contract would contribute an additional $1.6 million to Arizona's available cap space.
rating all Kyler Murray’s preformances of the 2023 NFL Season (week 10-18) pic.twitter.com/yG32Z1c4Kt
— chris (@k1szn_) February 10, 2024
In assessing the Arizona Cardinals' roster ahead of the 2024 offseason, the organization faces critical decisions. For sure, they want to fortify the team's competitive edge. With Kyler Murray at the helm, the Cardinals possess a foundation for success. That said, strategic moves in personnel management are paramount. The potential releases or trades of Zach Pascal, DJ Humphries, and Dennis Daley underscore the team's commitment to optimizing resources and fostering a culture of excellence.
As the Cardinals navigate the intricacies of roster construction, each decision resonates with the ambition to propel the franchise toward resurgence and success. Through calculated moves and shrewd investments, Arizona aims to emerge stronger. If they can parlay some players into assets, perhaps the Cardinals can challenge the league's elite and redefine their place among next year's playoff contenders.