The biggest questions for the Cardinals entering the offseason

The new league year is coming next month and the Arizona Cardinals are preparing to take the next step in their rebuild. They are coming off a 4-13 season in which they won three of eight games with Kyler Murray back from injury.

They face a number of questions this offseason as they look ahead to the offseason.

What are those questions?

Will Kyler Murray reach his ceiling again?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

We have seen an MVP-level of play from Murray in the past. After coming back last season from his torn ACL, he moved like a guy who never got hurt. Statistically, it took a little time to play at a level that looked good.

However, in his final three games, he was great.

The question is whether that is his baseline for play and whether he can reach that MVP-caliber ceiling next season. The Cardinals are counting on more growth from him.

What's next for Budda Baker?

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) celebrates a defensive stop during their 25-23 win over the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Atlanta Falcons;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Atlanta Falcons</a> at State Farm Stadium on Nov. 12, 2023, in Glendale.

Baker enters the final year of his contract in 2024. He wanted an extension last year and requested a trade when it didn’t happen. After getting a small raise and full guarantees for 2023, he now is back to no guarantees and no extension. His stance hasn’t likely changed, so either he will get a new deal or he might get traded.

Trading him is the single-most impactful thing the Cardinals can do cap-wise this offseason and they are so far from being a good defense. They could use the money saved to add talent at multiple positions.

Will they cut D.J. Humphries?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Humphries tore his ACL at the end of the year and probably won’t be able to play until at least December. He is still under contract through 2025 but cutting him could save around $9 million.

Would they cut a team captain who is hurt? They can.

With him hurt, they now must address left tackle, or at least move Paris Johnson there and then find a new right tackle.

Will they give James Conner an extension?

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) runs against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Seattle Seahawks;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Seattle Seahawks</a> cornerback Riq Woolen (27) during the first quarter at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Jan. 7, 2024.

Conner enters the final year of his contract with no guaranteed money remaining and is coming off a career season, rushing for 1,040 yards in 13 games. He had four 100-yard games last season and was their best offensive player all season.

Will they reward him?

Will the Cardinals win the draft again?

What will they do at receiver?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals seem to have mostly everything in place on offense except for receivers they can trust. That will have to be an offseason priority. Will they re-sign Marquise Brown? Will they target a premier receiver in free agency? Will they draft one early?

It is the receiver that generates the most excitement.

Can they make defensive improvements?

Syndication <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Arizona;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Arizona</a> Republic
Syndication Arizona Republic

The Cardinals were awful defensively in 2023. They struggled at every level of the defense. They had injuries.

They had only one sack in their final six games.

What will they do so they aren’t awful again?

More Cardinals and NFL coverage

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

[lawrence-auto-related count=3 category=1363]

Story originally appeared on Cards Wire