TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have traded Isaiah Simmons to the New York Giants, moving on from the No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 draft after three lackluster seasons.
The deal was announced on Thursday, less than a week after Simmons had a disappointing preseason performance in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants are sending a seventh-round pick in the 2024 draft to the Cardinals.
The move is pending Simmons passing a physical.
The Simmons swap was the start of a busy day for the Cardinals' front office, which also dealt offensive lineman Josh Jones to the Texans and added quarterback Joshua Dobbs in a deal with the Browns.
The 25-year-old Simmons was seen as a can't-miss defensive prospect in the 2020 draft after a stellar college career at Clemson. But the 6-foot-4, 238-pounder never quite found a role with the Cardinals and was attempting to move to safety from linebacker this preseason.
The Cardinals were supportive of Simmons' switch, though the move didn't make a lot of sense from the team's perspective. Arizona is already set at safety with two-time All-Pro Budda Baker and veteran Jalen Thompson.
Still, there was little clue Simmons was about to be dealt.
“He did everything that we asked him to do,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said Thursday. “It’s just moving forward, we feel like this is the best way that how we want to play football against other people.”
The Cardinals are currently in Minnesota, having joint practices with the Vikings in the leadup to their preseason game on Saturday.
Simmons has been productive over the past two seasons, with 105 tackles in 2021 and 99 tackles last season, but he's also had a tendency for big mistakes that frustrated previous coach Kliff Kingsbury.
The new regime with the Cardinals — led by Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort — decided not to exercise the fifth-year option on Simmons' contract during the offseason. A few months later, they've parted ways with the player completely.
“He’s been here the last three seasons and wish him the best going forward,” Ossenfort said. "But just for us as a team where we’re at, we thought it was the best move to make.”
The Cardinals and Giants will face each other in Week 2.
Ossenfort was a busy man Thursday, dealing Jones and the team's seventh-round pick in 2024 to the Texans for a fifth-round pick in 2024. A few hours later, he added Dobbs and a 2024 seventh-round pick from the Browns in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick.
Jones was selected in the third round of the 2020 draft — two rounds after Simmons — and played in every game the past two seasons, starting 12 times in 2021 and nine times last season.
The 28-year-old Dobbs gives the Cardinals another option under center while franchise quarterback Kyler Murray continues to recover from a knee injury suffered last season. Arizona's new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing was Cleveland's quarterbacks coach last season, which could make for an easier transition.
AP freelancer Brian Hall in Eagan, Minnesota, contributed to this report.
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