The Isaiah Simmons experiment concluded in Arizona on Thursday, as the Cardinals traded the versatile safety to the New York Giants in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick.
This move casts a shadow on the franchise, considering they invested a first-round pick in Simmons back in 2020, hoping for him to solidify a role in Arizona’s defense.
Nonetheless, it was a necessary step in the Cardinals’ rebuilding journey under the leadership of general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon.
Ossenfort addressed the decision, stating, “The situation presented itself (Thursday morning), and given our current camp and team situation, we believed it was the right move for us moving forward. I wish Isaiah the best in his future endeavors. He’s been with us for the past three seasons, but we thought this was the best course of action.”
Gannon added, “Isaiah did everything we asked of him. However, as we look to the future and our style of play, we believe this move aligns better with our football strategy. We want to field the best team possible.”
Simmons’ departure could be partly attributed to his recent performance as a Cardinal, where he struggled in coverage and missed a crucial tackle attempt near the goal line.
Nevertheless, Ossenfort emphasized that this decision wasn’t solely based on one game or play, saying, “It’s a culmination of our assessment since we arrived in the spring and throughout training camp. It’s a decision we arrived at after careful consideration, not a reaction to a single incident.”
Trading away a 2020 first-round pick for a modest return is bound to raise questions, especially considering Simmons’ impressive 2022 season stats, which included 99 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and four QB hits.
This trade may inadvertently send a message to the team, but Ossenfort clarified, “Regardless of how a player joined us, whether through the draft or free agency, what matters is their contribution to the team now. Our goal is to assemble the best possible 53-man roster.”
In essence, the Cardinals’ decision revolves around building a winning team rather than sending messages, as they continue their organizational transformation.