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IDP Off-Season Outlook: NFC West

What do we need to know about the IDPs in the NFC West?

Fred Warner

Welcome to the next edition in our ongoing delve into the defensive fortunes for every team’s off-season.

This time we’re looking at the NFC West; home of the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Can they maintain defensive excellence around the best defender in the league? Can the Seattle Seahawks retain their past glory? Can the San Francisco 49ers get back to their phenomenal 2019 defense? Are the Arizona Cardinals the excellent defense they showed early last season? Or the grey mush they descended into later in the season?

Arizona Cardinals

Coaching staff and team situation

The Cardinals' coaching staff is pretty stable. Kliff Kingsbury made the playoffs last season, which seems to have bought him some stability. The team has some issues to sort out with quarterback Kyler Murray, but they are in relatively calm waters.

2021 was a weird season for the Cards. They finished up as a top ten defense, but they took a circuitous route to get there. The cornerback corps in particular started off playing amazingly well, and then faded badly down the stretch.

In money terms, they currently have just shy of $3 million in 2022 cap space, placing them 23rd among all teams. They can free up some extra room, but it seems unlikely they’ll be massively investing in new contracts aside from a potentially huge one for Kyler Murray.

Defensive line

The edge group was overhyped going into 2021 and underdelivered against mass expectations. Chandler Jones delivered five sacks in week one and then managed just six more in 14 games including none in weeks two to six. J.J. Watt only played in the first seven games of the season. Markus Golden is a fantastic finisher, but a bit of a one-trick pony. Jones is a free agent. Watt is 33 and his $16m cap hit seems very high for a guy who’s hit double-digit sacks just once since the 2015 season.

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IDP Off-Season Outlook: NFC West
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