The term tanking gained its most popular connotation when the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t bother hiding their attempts to lose while pursuing top picks in the NBA draft. The Arizona Cardinals are seemingly doing the same thing now just not quite as loud but there is a dull roar to their attempts.
his week as roster cuts begin to be made, the Cardinals and general manager Monti Ossenfort are making some moves that can be best described as questionable. With Kyler Murray still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered late in the 2022 season, many expected the team to stick with veteran Colt McCoy. They added some depth to the position by drafting Clayton Tune in the 5th round of April’s draft and then traded for Joshua Dobbs at the end of last week.
Both those additions proved to be not of the depth variety but of the instant use type when the Cardinals announced on Sunday that they were releasing Colt McCoy. This of course leaves either rookie Clayton Tune or Joshua Dobbs with the latter having a 0-2 record and a 58% completion percentage on his resume.
Despite the seemingly gross way that tanking is seen by many, especially those in the NFL, the proof is in the roster.
The Cardinals are Playing it Safe with Kyler Murray
The Cardinals and Kyler Murray have had a rather unique plan with his rehab after suffering a torn ACL in the last quarter of the 2022 calendar. Murray delayed his surgery until January 3 despite suffering the injury on December 12. Reportedly the delay was for swelling to go down to allow for an easier surgery, which makes sense, but what it did was set the return date back as well.
The convenient side of his that not just for Murray and his recovery but also for the Cardinals now and their new regime.
The long recovery has landed the former Heisman Trophy winner on the PUP list to start the year but it also raises questions in regards to whether he plays in 2023. Instincts would point to the moves they are making along with Murray rehabbing that he may not even play this year, and why should he. Odds are the earliest he could return would be mid to late October at which point the team could be looking at a 0-8 record in the face.
If that is in fact their record, or anything close to that, they have no need to play Kyler Murray. By playing it safe with Murray it allows for them to be in prime position for one of the top picks in the draft, if not the top one, as well as keeping his trade value at its peak. While trading him and his contract may be a tall task for Ossenfort he has proven to be a more than capable general manager in just one offseason. If he does indeed want to get his own quarterback for him and the coaching staff to build with, no better year to start than 2024 with the top prospects available.