Four former Arizona Cardinals sign free agent contracts with new teams
As the NFL’s free agency period continues, the Arizona Cardinals are seeing more players from their 2016 squad latch on with other teams.
The 30-year-old tight end Fells spent three seasons with the Cardinals from 2014-2016 and posted career highs in receptions (21) and yards (311) in 2015 while catching three touchdowns. In his Arizona tenure, Fells, a former college basketball player at UC Irvine, caught 40 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns while supplying stellar blocking. In fact, Pro Football Focus had Fells rated as the third-best pass-blocking tight end in the league last season.
The Cardinals opted not to tender Fells a one-year restricted free agent offer for 2017, which made him an unrestricted free agent. Arizona also brought back tight end Jermaine Gresham, signing the veteran to a four-year deal earlier this week.
Watford, a fourth-round pick out of James Madison in 2013, spent four years with the Cardinals, playing in 32 games with 15 starts. Watford saw his most extensive playing time last season, when he started 11 games and played 68.4 percent of Arizona’s offensive snaps — which was the fourth-highest mark among Cardinals linemen.
The 26-year-old joins former Cardinal defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who signed with the Jaguars earlier in the week.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who like Fells, was not offered a one-year tender and became an unrestricted free agent, signed Friday night with the New York Jets.
Meet the new leg! pic.twitter.com/aBAFt9YX7l
— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 11, 2017
Catanzaro, an undrafted free agent out of Clemson, held down the Cardinals’ kicking job for three seasons. While showing a big leg with five field goals of 50 yards or more in his career, Catanzaro struggled in big spots in high-profile games in 2016. He missed a 47-yard field goal in the final minute of a 23-21 season-opening loss to the New England Patriots. In a Week 7 tie with the Seattle Seahawks, Catanzaro missed two field goal attempts, including a 24-yarder that would have won the game in overtime.
The Cardinals opted to sign 42-year-old Phil Dawson to a one-year contract rather than bring back Catanzaro for a fourth season.
On Saturday afternoon, the Chicago Bears announced that they signed defensive back Marcus Cooper.
Cooper leaves the Cardinals after just one season in the desert.
He played in 15 games, starting 13 of those, and earned four interceptions, one of which he took for a touchdown. He also racked up 63 tackles.