Arizona Cardinals Predicted to Take Step Back in NFC West in 2022

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

I have to say that the Arizona Cardinals were the most disappointing team to me personally last season. Not because I am a fan, but because I was enjoying watching them dominate the league over the first half of the season. Then the house of cards came tumbling down and Arizona nearly missed the playoffs entirely -- not that it mattered much after getting crushed by the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round. 

Now, heading into 2022, the Cardinals are getting no love from the bookmakers. The Cardinals are +1100 to win the NFC Title. Those odds slot them behind the Cowboys, Packers, Rams, 49ers, and Buccaneers. According to WynnBET Sportsbook, Arizona enters the year as a second-tier team in the NFC. Their odds are almost the same as the Saints and Eagles which should put their prospects into perspective. So what gives? Why are the Cardinals getting zero respect from the oddsmakers? One reason is certainly DeAndre Hopkins’ six-game suspension for violating the league's policy on PEDs. I think that Hopkins getting popped was the reason for the team trading for Marquise Brown during the draft. 

Hopkins’ absence is going to be an issue, but I think the biggest problem for the Cardinals in 2022 will be under center. 

Will Kyler Murray's Contract Loom Over 2022 Season?

The Arizona Cardinals picked up Kyler Murray’s fifth-year option earlier this month, keeping Murray in AZ for the next two seasons. This has to be a kick in the pants for Murray who watched his peers get paid this offseason while he’s still playing on a rookie contract. While I think Murray’s health could be a long-term issue, his on-field work demands a big payday. 

I don’t think the Cardinals are seriously considering letting Murray go, but they are playing a dangerous game by making him wait to get paid. Murray is currently not attending voluntary offseason workouts but is not expected to hold out during mandatory minicamp. Some believe he won't step foot on a field until his deal is done. If the deal is inevitable, which I do believe is the case, it makes no sense to wait.

Nevertheless, teams make head-scratching moves every day and they might let Murray sweat it out. If they go this route I can’t see it having a positive impact on this team at all. With all of this still up in the air, it makes sense why the oddsmakers are down on Arizona heading into minicamp.