Every General Manager in the world, doesn’t matter the sport, has one job: win a championship. The way they go about those jobs can be different: some look at players stats and say “that would be great here!”, some look at a players age and go “Oh he’d develop really well here!”, and some look at just the money and go “But here’s what I’m willing to spend” and that’s exactly the reason that edge rusher Chandler Jones in no longer an Arizona Cardinal.
“At the end of the day, we had to do what was best for the future of the Arizona Cardinals. Chandler is an amazing pass rusher, but with the current group we have I don’t have any fears on us getting to the quarterback. Currently we have 37 sacks as a team, which puts us in the top spot league wide. But our run defense has been atrocious and a large part I believe for that is a lack of size up front” explained General Manager Landon Moe.
With Jones, the Cardinals had a bull rushing defensive end that weighed in at 265 lbs. While he had a knack for getting to the quarterback, Chandler Jones struggled this year holding up his end on running plays. So what is the plan going forward?
“The plan is Robert Nkemdiche” says Moe.
“Robert has been a decent player for us inside for a number of years, but his development just isn’t on par with what we’d like to see. He has grown tremendously as a speed rusher, but the inside tackle spot requires him to excel at being that immovable piece, and that’s something Robert has struggled to do since day one” continued the GM, “But now with the addition of DJ Reader, it gives us a chance to add an additional 30 lbs to the edge spot while also putting Nkemdiche in the right situations to show his pass rushing talent.”
The one factor that made this all make sense though was the money side. Chandler Jones was currently making $12M this season, $15M the following season, and $17M in the final year of his contract. Even though the Cardinals are still on the hook for a chunk of that money, this gives GM Moe a lot of money to put other places.
“At the end of the day I have a certain amount of money I like to spend at each position. You prepare for your quarterbacks, left tackles, edge rushers, and cornerbacks to all take up a good chunk of your cap. But with Arizona, we have been able to shore up the quarterback spot, the left tackle, and the edge rusher now with lower contracts. It’s going to give us a huge advantage when it comes to signing positions that generally don’t take up a huge portion of most teams cap” says GM Moe.
And he’s right. Being able to put big chuncks of money into skill position areas may be the final piece of GM Moe’s vision. He has built this team to compete in years 4-5 of Rosen’s career. By managing the cap right, he may be able to add a bunch of soldiers to this team during that time frame.