The Arizona Cardinals gave defensive tackle Jordan Phillips a three-year $30 million contract in 2020. He was their highest-priced free agent that offseason. He was coming off a career year with the Buffalo Bills, collecting 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 13 tackles for loss.
Two years into his contract and it doesn’t look like a good signing.
It shouldn’t be considered a bad signing. It has, though, been an unfortunate one.
He played in only seven games in 2020, landing on injured reserve twice with a hamstring injury. He will start the season on injured reserve and miss at least three games. He missed almost all of training camp, but the injury is unknown as the Cardinals did not disclose injury details in training camp. They are not required to do so.
There was no way to predict this. Phillips does not have much of an injury history.
Before last season, he had only missed four games in his career since entering the NFL in 2015. He was a healthy scratch for one game as a rookie. He missed three games with an ankle injury in 2017.
He did not have a single injury designation for games in 2018 and 2019.
The only final injury report designations he has had were from 2015-2017.
- 2015: probable twice with an ankle injury, questionable once with a knee injury (he played) and probable twice with a shoulder injury.
- 2016: questionable once with an ankle injury (he played)
- 2017: Doubtful twice and questionable three times with an ankle injury (he missed three games)
There was no red flag for injuries. He had never dealt with a soft-tissue issue in his entire career.
As for what the injury is now, we might not know until he comes back from injured reserve and is on the injury report.
And when he was healthy last year, he was good. He had two sacks in the first three games.
The signing of Phillips has turned out to be unlucky so far. He hasn’t underperformed. He just hasn’t been available, which has never been an issue before.
It is not unlike the deal for Robert Alford. He signed a three-year deal as a free agent and didn’t play a snap for two years. It wasn’t a bad signing. It was just unlucky.
Hopefully, though, Phillips can come back healthy and dominate. Playing alongside J.J. Watt, Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, he should be able to have some fun and disrupt opposing offenses.