A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Rams were almost as close to the number one pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as the Arizona Cardinals, but after Week 12’s “ass kicking”, L.A. is knocking on the door of the playoffs and Arizona is inching closer to Caleb Williams or one of the top quarterback prospects. To put it more succinctly by Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray after the 37-14 blowout:
“We just got our ass kicked.”
Because of that ass kicking, it could be Murray out of a job next offseason when the Arizona Cardinals are considering what to do with their first of two first round draft picks.
The top quarterbacks in the class are expected to be USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye, but a lot could still change between now and the draft. What’s yet to change is the fact that Murray hasn’t played many good games over the past two years and Arizona has to consider if they’ll be able to trade him and whether the new coaching and front office regime would be better off with a different quarterback.
The Rams held Murray to 27-of-45 passing for 256 yards and a touchdown with another rushing score on the ground.
Murray hasn’t been terrible and he’s coming back from a torn ACL, but now the Cardinals are going to be in a position to replace him with a top pick if Arizona doesn’t win many more football games. It doesn’t seem like they will.
At 2-10, the Cardinals have as many losses as the 1-10 Carolina Panthers and are currently slated to pick second. The New England Patriots are 2-9 and also knocking on the door.
Beating the Cardinals is good news for the Rams. It could just have huge implications on the future of the Arizona franchise and how much closer they are to the number one pick in the draft. The Cardinals, who drafted Murray first overall only a year after picking quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall, could have the option to draft Williams or Maye or another quarterback with the top pick and trade Murray.
Though it would not be easy to move his guaranteed $35.3 million salary, crazier things have happened and Arizona could make arrangements to complete a deal. They could accept a low offer or include a draft pick or eat some of the salary, if needed.
The Cardinals already have a new head coach in Jonathan Gannon and a new offensive system with coordinator Drew Petzing. The new GM has no ties to Murray and didn’t sign him to his massive contract extension in 2022.
Arizona also holds the Texans first round pick because of a trade in the 2023 draft, so they could select a quarterback and still get him more help or a defensive player on day one.
Or the Cardinals could choose to trade the pick and end up with multiple additional first round picks. If Arizona ends up with the top pick and isn’t ready to give up on Murray—Gannon has been steadfast in his support for Murray—there will be plenty of offers for the rights to pick a quarterback. Teams like the Patriots, Commanders, Giants, Bucs, Jets, Raiders, and Saints, for example.
Getting the first overall pick would be a powerful position for Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort. Being in a powerful position is not something the Cardinals are used to.
They certainly weren’t in a powerful position on Sunday. They got their asses kicked.