Cardinals Grant Ex-Second-Rounder Permission to Seek Trade: Report

Steve Keim

Getty Images Steve Keim speaks to reporters during the NFL draft combine on March 1, 2022.

Since the beginning of the week on February 28, the Arizona Cardinals have continued to be in the headlines, which stems all the way back from the Pro Bowl when Kyler Murray scrubbed all but two Instagram posts.

Murray and his agent, Erik Burkhardt, brought together a massive contract proposal that was tweeted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim would later back and support the young quarterback’s beliefs at the NFL scouting combine on March 1.

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A day later, it was announced that the Cardinals extended Kingsbury and Keim through the 2027 season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport would later say that Murray is on “their radar in a big way.”

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill released a statement in a press release concerning the latest extensions.

“The leadership of both Steve and Kliff have been key factors in the team’s turnaround over the last three seasons,” said Bidwill. “We are all looking forward to continuing that progress and recognize these two individuals will be a big part of achieving our long-term goals as an organization.”

There was also news that didn’t get as much love due to the newest extensions by the team.

Cardinals Grant Trade Request

According to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella was given permission to seek a trade. The 2019 second-round pick caught just one reception in 2021.

Isabella’s agent told Anderson, “I think we have all concluded, including the Cardinals that it might be best for Andy to get a fresh start.”

The report came an hour after the team announced the extensions of Kingsbury and Keim. Isabella is the last of the three wide receivers (Hakeem Butler, KeeSean Johnson) picked by the Cardinals in the 2019 draft. If Isabella were to be traded or released, two of seven offensive players selected in 2019 would still be on the team (Murray and backup OL Joshua Miles).

The 5’9 receiver out of Massachusetts totaled just 30 catches in his first two seasons with the team. Then, the Cardinals drafted second-round receiver Rondale Moore in 2021 and quickly saw his potential, accumulating 54 catches for 435 yards.

Isabella is a native of Ohio. CBS Sports Browns reporter Brad Stainbrook was told the Browns are interested in the 25-year-old’s services. The Browns fished at the idea of acquiring Isabella before the 2021 trade deadline.

Patriots reporter Evan Lazar also reported there’s interest from Isabella’s team to land in New England.

Cardinals Must Supply More Weaponry

If Isabella were to move on, the Cardinals would have DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch as their top three receivers under contract for the 2022 season. Christian Kirk and A.J. Green are both unrestricted free agents while Antoine Wesley is an exclusive rights free agent.

Free agency begins on March 16 and the Cardinals’ projected salary-cap space is $2.4 million according to ESPN. The Cardinals do have more than $40 million of cap space worth of “simple” restructures, per Cardinals reporter Darren Urban. That also doesn’t include possible cuts.

But the Cardinals need more playmakers and the answer might not just be free agency. The draft is in April and the team could look to add younger talent, similar to adding Moore in 2021.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial for the Cardinals to give more weapons to Murray. The Cardinals are the only team in the NFC West with a first-round pick and could use that for their advantage. The team traded for DeAndre Hopkins in 2020 for a second-round pick, RB David Johnson and a fourth-round pick. Could the team go after another WR in the trade market like a Calvin Ridley?

No matter what, the Cardinals can’t go backward in 2022 after a second-half collapse in 2021.

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