With Super Bowl 57 being held in Arizona on Feb. 12, 2023, the Arizona Cardinals are looking for the 2022-2023 season to be their most successful season yet so they can make it to the Super Bowl and play the big game in their own stadium.
The Cardinals have yet to win the Lombardi Trophy. They were in the Super Bowl back in 2009 but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23. Before they can start preparing for their Super Bowl run, they need to get over the disappointment of the 2021-2022 season that started off so promising. And they need to start making some roster decisions on top of preparing for the upcoming draft.
The Arizona Cardinals 2021-2022 Season Recap
The Cardinals acquired DE J.J. Watt and RB James Conner before last season. The extra boost on the roster helped the Cardinals start the season with an impressive 7-0 record. Even when tight end Maxx Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5, it didn’t stop the Cardinals from winning as they signed Zach Ertz to replace him.
But things started to go south entering Week 8. First, Watt was ruled out for the season after suffering a shoulder injury back in Week 7. Then, Arizona lost its first game in Week 8 at home against the Green Bay Packers. That is when things really started to go downhill and injuries started to pile up, with QB Kyler Murray injuring his ankle in the Week 8 loss. The quarterback was out for three games. WR DeAndre Hopkins suffered on and off injuries throughout the season missing a game here and there, but Week 14 is when the wide receiver was officially sidelined for the rest of the season.
Arizona went on to lose four of its last five games and ended the season with an 11-6 record, placing second in the NFC West. The Cardinals still managed to grab a spot in the playoffs but lost the Wild Card game 34-11 against the Los Angeles Rams in arguably Murray’s worst game of the season. Murray completed 19 of 34 passes for 122 yards and had two interceptions, one being the worst of his career. The team ended the game with 183 total yards.
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What Is Going On With Kyler Murray?
There has been some recent drama surrounding QB1, Kyler Murray. He scrubbed his social media accounts of all things Arizona Cardinals, but he did recently post a photo of him in Cardinals gear with a statement suggesting that he is going to continue to work hard and grow. So it seems like he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The quarterback finished the season with 3,787 yards, 24 touchdown passes, and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 423 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns. Yes, he has some work to do in the offseason, but with the right coaching and the right weapons, Arizona might be the right place for him to continue to evolve.
Which Players Arizona Cardinals Players Are Currently Under Contract?
Notable Offensive Players Under ContractNotable Defensive Players Under Contract
QB Kyler MurrayJ.J. Watt
RB Eno BenjaminMarkus Golden
WR Deandre HopkinsBudda Baker
WR Rondale MooreZaven Collins
K Matt PraterIsaiah Simmons
OL D.J. HumphriesJordan Philips
OL Kelvin BeachumZach Allen
OL Rodney HudsonTanner Vallejo
OL Justin PughByron Murphy Jr.
Hopkins will be back and is on track to start the new season healthy. Even though Hopkins only played 10 games last season, the WR had eight touchdowns. There is no question that he is valuable to the team. Joining him on the offense, running back Eno Benjamin will be back. Benjamin didn’t have a stellar year with only one touchdown and 118 rushing yards, but the Arizona State alum definitely has potential. Recently, the Cardinals signed Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels to a future contract to help with the run game.
Rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore will also be suiting up for the Cardinals. He had one touchdown on the season but has high expectations especially if he continues to work under Hopkins.
Matt Prater will be returning but will need to do some work in the offseason as he went 1 for 3 on field-goal attempts in two games last season. However, Prater works really with punter Andy Lee and long snapper Andy Brewer. Both of those players are currently free agents, so it might be worth it for the Cardinals to do what they can to keep the trio together.
On the other side of the ball, Watt will be coming back and after returning from his injury to play in the Wild Card playoff game, so he will be ready for the new season. He will be joined by Markus Golden, who finished the season with 11 sacks. Other defensive players returning include Budda Baker, Zach Allen, and rookie Zaven Collins.
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Who Are The Arizona Cardinals Current Free Agents?
Just because these players are listed as free agents, doesn’t mean they are leaving, but they are players to keep an eye on to see if the Cardinals are going to work out a deal to keep them on the roster.
Notable Offensive Free AgentsNotable Defensive Free Agents
RB James ConnerChandler Jones
RB Chase EdmondsCharles Washington
WR AJ GreenChris Banjo
WR Christian KirkMichael Dogbe
TE Zach ErtzCorey Peters
Running back James Conner is a player that the Cardinals should try their hardest to keep. He finished the season with 752 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. Another running back Arizona should consider returning is Chase Edmonds, who had 592 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Christian Kirk, who grew up in the Valley, had 982 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He wants to stay on the Cardinals and is a wide receiver the Cardinals should consider keeping. A.J. Green is another wide receiver free agent, but with 848 receiving yards, just three touchdowns and some dropped passes on big plays this season, it might be time he finds a new home. Tight end Zach Ertz finished the season with 763 yards and five touchdowns. He has expressed his interest in staying with the Cardinals and as one of the best tight ends to play the game, the Cardinals should also consider keeping him on the roster.
As for the defense, the biggest free agent is Chandler Jones. It seems like Jones is expecting a big payday, and he just might be worth it. He started the season with five sacks in Week One against the Tennessee Titans. He ended the season with 10.5 sacks in the 15 games he played, along with 12 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, and 26 quarterback hits. It may cost Arizona some cash, but Jones is a solid defensive player that the team shouldn’t let walk away easily.
Arizona Cardinals 2022-2023 Season Prediction
For the Cardinals to have a winning season, a lot of work needs to be done in the offseason. From a successful draft to making smart decisions on retaining free agents, it is time for the management to step up.
Kliff Kingsbury is expected to come back to coach another season. It is unsure if defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will return. But two things are for sure, the Cardinals need to add some depth when it comes to their offensive line and they also need to work on their secondary. This is where the draft and free agency is going to make or break them.
If Arizona can start the season with the momentum like they started the season with last year and keep it up throughout the entire season and through the playoffs, they have a good chance of returning to the NFC Championship for the first time since 2015. And they may even have a chance to make it all the way to the Super Bowl at their own stadium.