Isaiah Simmons, who will be a free agency after this season, was refused by Arizona less than a month ago.
Simmons, the No. 8 selection, might be the league's next great defensive chess piece.
Through three seasons, he hasn't lived up to his unicorn reputation. Since new head coach Jonathan Gannon hadn't seen Simmons play in his new defense, the Cardinals had to make a difficult choice.
Arizona's decision to not extend Simmons was one of Bleacher Report's seven offseason choices NFL clubs would regret:
"Though Simmons hasn't exactly achieved expectations for a top-eight draft selection, he's done enough to win support from the Cardinals' new coaching staff.
Simmons has had 99-plus tackles in each of his two seasons as a starter and saw his missed tackle percentage reduce from 9.5 to 4.8 percent between 2021 and 2022," Moton said.
Over the previous two years, Simmons has produced highlight reel defensive plays while lining up in numerous places, including 14 pass breakups,
Three interceptions, nine tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. A set role may make him a Pro Bowl playmaker.
In 2022, the Cardinals had the 31st-ranked scoring defense. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, two-time All-Pro safety Budda Baker wants a market-setting salary or a trade.
"Gannon, who used to be the defensive coordinator, should have known how important it was to keep Simmons under the team's control after the 2023 term."
There are pros and cons. Cardinals supporters feel like they've seen this movie before with Haason Reddick, who was abused by Arizona and went on to thrive elsewhere.
Between now and free agency next year, Simmons and the Cardinals may still reach a long-term contract, but both parties should wait to see how Simmons performs.
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