Of course he picked a team the same day I posted about him not yet picking a team. Stupid JJ. Anyway he’s a Cardinal now.

Besides being the obvious place an old white Midwesterner would go to retire, the Cardinals were certainly an interesting choice. Since the Cardinals gave him a pretty nice contract and they aren’t exactly a current contender, the backlash was pretty much immediate. Greedy JJ, they called him. Probably. I tried not to wade into the discourse of bitter fans from other franchises too much because it’s always the same garbage.

I do think the Cardinals were getting unfairly maligned overall during the proceedings. No, they didn’t reach the playoffs after a pretty bad second half meltdown last season, but they were on track before the ship hit the iceberg. JJ joins an already solid defensive line anchored by Chandler Jones. Kyler has yet another year under his belt and still looks promising. The Cardinals were a breakout team candidate last season and almost did it. I don’t think Arizona is as far away from contention as a lot of the naysayers seem to think. Even their own division, sturdy as it is, has some cracks.

The 49ers under Shanahan have been honestly pretty bad outside two years ago when people managed to stay healthy. We can’t assume that even if they do stay healthy, that they’ll be as dominate. They don’t seem to have much faith in Jimmy as rumors he was gone started as early as the SB loss. The 49ers probably still have the most potential to compete out of every team, but they’ve only lived up to billing once and have been wasting seasons on IR in the meantime.

The Rams should be better this year. Stafford is an upgrade over Goff (imo) and the team wasn’t at full power in the playoffs due to several injuries, namely to inhuman monster Aaron Donald. But the Rams have been playing chicken with the salary cap for a while now and have no first round picks. They also just lost their big defensive mind to San Diego. Staley had the Rams as the #1 defense last year. Even with a healthy Donald and Ramsey, I’d expect some sliding is in order. The Rams are currently in their window and it can shut at any moment.

The Seahawks are the team I most expect to stumble this year. Russ is apparently unhappy. Last year’s big attempt to make him MVP ended up blowing up in Seattle’s face as they stumbled to the finish line after an incredibly hot start. Sure, they won the division, and then immediately pounded by the Rams in the wildcard game. If Russ somehow does end up somewhere else, you can watch this team implode. With him, I’d expect more of the same problems they’ve been struggling with for most of Pete’s tenure. Conservative offensive play getting bailed out by Wilson’s heroics but coming back to bite them at the worst moments. The defense improved a little as the year went on but is still so far from the Legion of Boom that won them a super bowl. The Hawks have spent most of this decade very slowly backsliding out of relevance, and if they can’t fix it this year after they draft another 3rd round prospect in the first round, this might be it.

So the Cardinals aren’t as bad a choice as I think people want them to be just to rag on JJ. They have questions for sure. Kingsbury has not lived up to billing thus far. But if JJ still has a few good years left in him, there are worst teams to be on. They have a QB, they have talent on both sides, they just have to put it together a bit more, which is something a man like JJ can help facilitate.

He probably still should have picked Buffalo