The Arizona Cardinals aren’t going to just sit around and wait for the season to begin.
General manager Steve Keim has been busy working out veteran players on defense, with Deandre Baker and Jeremiah Attaochu as the latest to come to work out for the Cardinals.
On top of that, a Cardinals insider mentioned Ndamukong Suh and a few other defensive players as potential free agent options. The defense has issues that need to be resolved if Arizona wants to take a step forward in 2022 and salvage Kliff Kingsbury’s career.
Suddenly, there is a quality starting linebacker on the market that the Cardinals might want to try to acquire.
The Cardinals Could Give a Look at Roquan Smith
Smith has played all but four games since coming into the NFL in 2018 and has 14 career sacks. But, the Bears are rebuilding and traded away Khalil Mack, and the offer to Smith wasn’t what he was hoping for.
Thus, the Cardinals should be all-in on the Smith trade front, and it is worth a shot for Keim. Alex Sutton of Cards Wire elaborated on how badly the Cardinals need help in the linebacker group and why the addition of Smith makes sense:
General Manager Steve Keim has spent his entire tenure with the Cardinals searching for long-term stability at the inside linebacker position. While he’s had some short-term success, he’s struggled to find that elite presence in the middle of the field.
The Cardinals under Keim have selected four inside linebackers in the first round in Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick, Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins. Only one is currently slated to play the inside linebacker position for an NFL team this season. Given the front office’s infatuation with the position, it is almost guaranteed they will at least inquire about a player of Smith’s caliber.
Moreover, Johnny Venerable of PHNX Cardinals insists this is the type of move that could push Arizona over the top.
The Cardinals need help on defense, and with Isaiah Simmons transitioning to more of a hybrid role in 2022, the linebacking core could use the presence of Smith. Zaven Collins and Nick Vigil are set to start this season, and Smith would be a massive upgrade over both players.
Will Steve Kiem Roll the Dice on a Trade for Smith?
The question remains on what the Bears want to get out of a potential trade for Smith. Another question is, what would Kiem give up to acquire one of the best young linebackers in the NFL?
Some ideas have floated around, but draft capital might be the main thing the Bears are looking for.
There is no denying that Smith is a talented player, but in the final year of his rookie deal, he could walk away at the end of the season. That fact alone might limit teams from paying a premium price to acquire him.
On the other hand, Keim and the Cardinals need to address the defensive side of the ball after locking up Kyler Murray to a $231 million extension. It could be another disappointing season in the desert if they don’t improve on defense.
At the very least, it’s worth a phone call, especially if the Cardinals want to compete with the defending Super Bowl Champions.