The Arizona Cardinals are reportedly in the market of giving up on first round picks a year in these days. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora states that 2017 first round pick Haason Reddick has “struggled to pick up the Cardinals’ new defense” and that the Cardinals are “willing listeners” on any phone calls regarding a trade involving Reddick.
Well then. This would be a pretty stunning turn for Arizona, who picked Reddick 13th overall. One of the poster-children for winning the pre-draft process, Reddick became a draft darling throughout the winter of 2017. He stunned at the 2017 Senior Bowl with his natural instincts off the ball. Then, several weeks later, Reddick tested through the roof at the NFL Combine.
Some may have perceived Reddick as a reach at 13 but my conversations before the 2017 NFL Draft had informed me that at least one other team had Reddick pegged for their pick in the top 25. Arizona beat them to the punch.
A player like Haason Reddick isn’t one that comes without stipulations. His natural athleticism was apparent but he wasn’t going to be a plug and play starter in a traditional role, at least not right away. Reddick’s biggest weapon coming out was his versatility. Whoever drafted him needed to get creative with him until he was able to settle into a permanent home.
Reddick was drafted to play off-ball linebacker for the Cardinals, yet injuries forced him to play rush linebacker with frequency as a rookie, especially in the second half of the season. The end result was nearly 50% of Reddick’s snap usage came as a pass rusher.
Then, Coach Bruce Arians retired and the team hired Steve Wilks (then Carolina defensive coordinator) to replace him.
So in Reddick’s first 18 months in the NFL, he’s been asked to change positions (from rush player to LB) because his traits weren’t suitable to rush the passer in the NFL, then asked to change back to the position he’s not suited to play because of injuries…and then asked to switch back to linebacker and learn a brand new playbook for the second consecutive season.
Gee whiz. I, for one, cannot imagine why Haason Reddick’s development may be behind the 8-ball. (/sarcasm)
So here’s the deal. If Arizona is really willing to move on from Reddick, hope your team is the one to make the call. There’s talent present, clearly. Reddick’s development will need a re-boot, or something close to it. That’s fine. At this point, Arizona sounds interested in cutting their losses.
What would it take to get a deal done? If I’m a team offering a deal for Reddick, I’m weaponizing that first round contract against the Cardinals:
“Steve, listen. I like the player. We liked him coming out. I understand you spent a 1st on him, but he’s on the hook for nearly $10M in salary until the end of 2020. I can’t justify giving you a high draft selection with that kind of financial cost. Especially when he’s not playing for you.”
My first offer is a conditional Day 3 selection. In all reality, Haason Reddick’s cap hit peaks in 2020 with a $4.29M figure. Any team in the league can eat that, and they SHOULD be willing to eat it plus a Day 3 pick to gamble on Reddick’s promise and athletic ability.
The Cardinals cite Reddick’s ability between the ears as the catalyst of their problems. Yet any coach in the league would be willing to bet they can get him up to speed. Here’s hoping the Cardinals are silly enough to cut their losses and Reddick’s new home understands his requirements for success more clearly.