Ranking Trade Partners For The Cardinals 3rd Overall Pick

Apr 5th 2023

Hayden Winks

The Arizona Cardinals roster is in very tough shape, but they have the draft value this year to fill some of their biggest team needs. That starts with 3rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, where they'll be trying to convince teams to trade ahead of the QB-needy Colts at 4th overall. It's uncertain if the teams drafting early have high grades on Anthony Richardson or Will Levis, both considered high ceiling but very low floor prospects. To break down the odds of the Cardinals finding a trade partner, I'm looking at: draft capital needed for trade, severity of team needs, QB contracts, quality of players remaining without a trade, and the levels of "win now" each team is at.

Ultimately, I rank the Cardinals' trade candidates as: Lions, Raiders, Colts, Seahawks, Falcons, Titans, and Texans. Here's why:

  • Lions: This would require 6th, 48th, and 81st overall... Jared Goff is set to make $30M and $31M over the next two years but without many guarantees. They like him but are less attached to him compared to Geno and the Hawks, plus the Lions don't have a high-end backup or a 71-year-old coach. On top of that, very highly ranked EDGE1 Will Anderson is likely unavailable here. A trade is possible.

  • Raiders: This would require 7th, 38th and 70th overall... Jimmy Garoppolo is paid like a slightly below-average starter but did get $11M in guarantees for 2024. They also just signed backup/coach Brian Hoyer to re-unite with Josh McDaniels. With so many holes on this roster and familiarity in the QB room, the Raiders seem more focused on filling up the OL and DEF with starters. A trade is possible but somewhat unlikely, though some NFL insiders have hinted at this being more possible than I'm letting on.

  • Colts: This would require 4th and 35th overall, or 4th overall and multiple 3rd round picks... That's not too unreasonable if the Colts have a major preference between Anthony Richardson or Will Levis and if they thought others would have that same preference. A trade is possible but somewhat unlikely.

  • Seahawks: This would require 5th and 37th overall... Geno Smith was paid like an above-average starter in 2023 and has partial guarantees in 2024. They love him, and even re-signed Drew Lock to a $4M contract. Pete Carroll might only be coaching for a couple more years and probably views a suddenly-worse NFC West as the perfect time to win now. A trade is possible but unlikely, especially with Will Anderson and/or Jalen Carter extremely likely dropping into their lap.

  • Falcons: This would require 8th overall, 44th overall, 75th overall, and more... 2022 3rd rounder Desmond Ridder played fine enough as a rookie to be in the starter mix, especially with Taylor Heinicke signing a two-year, $12M partially guaranteed contract to be the backup. Their offseason moves point towards a team trying to win now in a very bad NFC South. A trade is possible but unlikely.

  • Titans: This would require 11th overall and a future 1st... Tennessee only has six draft picks and a ton of holes on the OL, at WR, and on DEF. Does a first-year GM want to attach himself to that much draft capital to move up? A trade including 34-year-old Ryan Tannehill would save the Titans $18M, so bringing in a rookie QB would make sense if someone they like slides. A trade is possible but unlikely.

  • Texans: This would require 12th, 33rd, and 104th overall... After getting their franchise QB, what if the Texans view EDGE1 Will Anderson as Demeco Ryan's new Nick Bosa? This would be fun, and they have five top-73 overall picks to work with. A trade is possible but very unlikely.

For more, check out my most recent 2023 NFL Mock Draft.