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Breaking down the Cardinals’ 53-man roster, the oldest in the NFL

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2016, file photo, Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley (44) hits Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) behind the line of scrimmage during an NFL football game in Atlanta. The Cardinals hope to bounce back from a disappointing 7-8-1 season and get back into playoff contention. Arizona hopes 37-year-old Palmer can turn back the clock and help the Cardinals make a last run in a closing window of opportunity. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

PHOENIX — The Cardinals released their initial roster on Saturday, so here’s a breakdown of every position.

But don’t be surprised if the roster looks tweaked heading into the week. I was hearing there will be changes to 53-man roster Sunday.

According to the NFL transactions, not a single Cardinals player was claimed, meaning some could still be headed to the practice squad.

Offense (25)

QB (3): Carson Palmer (37 years old), Drew Stanton (33), Blaine Gabbert (27)

Gabbert earned a roster based on his performance; he’ll run the scout team in practice. The Cardinals won’t keep another quarterback on the practice squad.

RB (5): David Johnson (25), Kerwynn Williams (26), Andre Ellington (28), Elijhaa Penny (24), T. J. Logan (23)

T.J. Logan made the 53-man roster and he will be formally moved to IR after one day. Chris Johnson was the odd man out at running back because he didn’t have the same burst, and it seemed he went through the motions during camp.

WR (6): Larry Fitzgerald (34), John Brown (27), Jaron Brown (27), J.J. Nelson (25), Brittan Golden (29), Chad Williams (22)

Williams was a third-round pick and will likely be inactive on gameday. Barring injuries at the position, he could contribute after Thanksgiving. Aaron Dobson missed a lot of time because of injury, dropped some passes and is headed for injured reserve.

TE (3): Jermaine Gresham (29), Troy Niklas (24), Ifeanyi Momah (27)

Momah was trending to make the roster after being considered a luxury when camp started. They could also look for anther tight end. Ricky Seals-Jones could be an option for the practice squad.

OL (9): T D.J. Humphries (23), G Mike Iupati (30), C A.Q. Shipley (31), G/C Evan Boehm (24), T Jared Veldheer (30), G John Wetzel (26), T Will Holden (23), T Ulrick John (25) C/G Daniel Munyer (25)

The Cardinals made few surprise decisions by releasing Cole Toner and fourth-round pick Dorian Johnson, both of whom could be options for the practice squad. The Cardinals really liked Munyer (6-foot-1, 305 pounds), who looks like a natural center-guard and will be part of the future. John will be the swing tackle, and Wetzel can play four different positions.

Defense (25)

DL (7): Frostee Rucker (33), Corey Peters (29), Josh Mauro (26), Robert Nkemdiche (22), Rodney Gunter (25) Olsen Pierre (26), Xavier Williams (25)

Depending on the status of his injury, Pasoni Tasini (knee) could be an option for the practice squad.

ILB (5): Karlos Dansby (35), Deone Bucannon (25) Haason Reddick (22), Josh Bynes (28), Philip Wheeler (32)

Bynes and Wheeler beat out Scooby Wright, who got off to a good start in camp but continued to struggle in coverage. It didn’t make sense to keep him on the 53-man roster considering he would only play on special teams. Wright would be an option for the practice squad.

OLB (3): Chandler Jones (27), Markus Golden (26), Kareem Martin (25)

Cap Capi has a really good game that flashed throughout the preseason, but the Cardinals would like to add outside linebacker at some point. Plus, Reddick could also play on the outside.

CB (4): Patrick Peterson (27), Justin Bethel (27), Brandon Williams (24), Tramon Williams (34)

One of the biggest questions going to camp has settled itself over the last few weeks.

S (5): Tyrann Mathieu (25), Tyvon Branch (30), Antoine Bethea (33), Budda Baker (21), Rudy Ford (22)

Ford got the edge over Harlan Miller. Miller will be an option for the practice squad.

Special teams (3)

LS Aaron Brewer (27), Matt Wile (25), Phil Dawson (42)

Wile improved down the stretch in camp and during preseason games, but the Cardinals are close to signing punter Andy Lee and will likely release Wile.

Old-man Cardinals

The Cardinals have the oldest roster in the NFL, according to the 53-man roster math done by PhillyVoice.com’s Jimmy Kempski.

Arizona has 13 players of at least 30-year-old on the current roster. Andy Lee would make it 14 if/when that becomes official.

Here’s the Cardinals’ average age (and NFL rank) over the last five years.

Cardinals
2017 — 27.28 (32)
2016 — 26.09 (17)
2015 — 26.35 (22)
2014 — 26.6 (27)
2013 — 26.79 (30)

A few years difference may not appear significant, but here’s Kempski to explain:

Every year I do this study, I seem to get the same basic comment, which I’ll address ahead of time.

“The difference between the Browns and Falcons is only 3.04 years. So what?”… While 3.04 years may not be a monumental difference between two individual players, keep in mind that these are the average ages of 53 players per team.

3.04 years on average * 53 players = A difference of about 161.1 total years between the Browns and Falcons.

In other words, if you took the 16 oldest Cardinals and shaved 10 years off each of their ages, their roster still wouldn’t be as young as the Browns.

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