The Arizona Cardinals traded Isaiah Simmons to the New York Giants on Thursday, sending a message that all options are on the table. Simmons, who struggled against the Kansas City Chiefs at the safety position, made himself expendable to the lowest bidder.
The eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft departed Clemson with a lot of promise. However, using him in all kinds of positions never allowed him to settle into one and build a career. The change of regime looked to be a fresh start for a player with a lot of promise and upside. Yet Arizona, in a full rebuild mode, is looking at a bigger picture, and Simmons was not a fit.
Simmons is a complicated player. He is not a quick-footed defender, lacking that “twitchy” quality that would keep him three steps ahead of an offensive player. His size has also kept him from being a prototypical linebacker. He is, by every definition, a “tweener”. The Cardinals have enough of those already.
Against Kansas City, Simmons logged 25 plays. He got burned on a pass to Chiefs receiver Justin Watson that resulted in a touchdown and was not able to bring down backup quarterback Shane Buechele. Buechele was able to score six on that play too.
Simmons did not help himself with his play this past Saturday. In a quick X poll taken by Azcentral Sports, better than 35% of fans had seen enough and think it’s time to move on.
— azcentral sports (@azcsports) August 22, 2023
In three seasons with the Cardinals, Simmons amassed 258 tackles with 181 of the solo variety. He also kicked in 13 tackles for a loss and got 11 hits on the quarterback. Simmons also had 7.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four interceptions, and one touchdown. But against the Chiefs in a preseason game, he never looked the part.
Cardinals Trade of Isaiah Simmons: An Addition by Subtraction
As for the defense, the safety spot is razor-thin. After Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson, it is a who’s who in the Arizona defensive backfield. Two names to keep an eye on are Jovante Moffatt and Andre Chachere. Moffatt was listed behind Baker, but with Simmons gone, and Chachere also struggling, Moffatt could find a deeper role. Either way, the Cardinals now have little on the defensive side of the football, which should fit nicely with the little they have on the offense.
Business decision from Isaiah Simmons.
I get it’s the preseason… but his effort has been questionable on more than one play tonight.
Coaches will see it on tape.
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) August 20, 2023
It is worth noting the timeliness of this move. Few could have seen this coming, except for the organization and Simmons himself. On Thursday morning, head coach Jonathan Gannon said something worth paying attention to.
“Moving forward we feel this is the best way we want to play football against other people. We’re going to try and put the best guys out there that can function and do the best job.” azcardinals.com
Simmons, like Hopkins, also played their way out of Arizona. Hopkins was released to save all the trouble, and Simmons was traded for a seventh-round pick next year. More simply put, the Cardinals were able to easily rationalize a seventh-round throwaway pick for a one-time first-rounder.
If that doesn’t say enough about Isaiah Simmons, you simply have not watched.
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Main Photo: Joe Rondone – USA Today Sports