Arizona Cardinals cut defensive tackle Darnell Dockett
Darnell Dockett’s 11-year tenure with the Arizona Cardinals appears to be over.
The 33-year-old defensive tackle, who was set to enter the final year of his contract, has been cut by the team, general manager Steve Keim announced Friday.
“We have been very clear about our feelings for Darnell and our desire to have him back,” Keim said in a press release. “After speaking with him and his representatives, we decided that this move today makes the most sense for both the team and the player and allows each to keep all of its options open.”
With Dockett’s release, the Cardinals will gain $6.8 million in salary cap room for the upcoming season, according to azcardinals.com’s Darren Urban.
ESPN Stats and Info reports Dockett’s release, combined with the restructured contract of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, will result in a savings of $19.6 million against the cap in 2015.
On Tuesday, Keim said the Cards were looking to re-work Dockett’s contract in order to lower his projected cap hit in 2015.
Urban noted a return to the Cardinals following a release “is not unprecedented,” as the team cut offensive tackle Levi Brown in 2012 before re-signing him two days later.
“If you just kind of read the comments from Steve Keim in the release, it feels like there’s still that door being open,” Urban told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday.
Urban said Dockett will have plenty of time to gauge the market before the NFL’s free agency period begins March 10. He said Dockett and the Cardinals should know “sooner rather than later” whether he will re-sign with the team.
“I think that he would be able to get fairly quickly an idea of what he’ll be valued at around the league and know how to measure that against whatever the Cardinals might be offering,” he said.
“I think it’s good that this door apparently remains open. I think that makes everybody a little bit more comfortable if he is able to come back here because Darnell will know exactly what the possibility (of a better contract) could have been on the market because he’s going to be able to see it now.”
The Cardinals drafted Dockett in the third round (64th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He recorded 40.5 sacks, including a career-high nine in 2007. He missed the entire 2014 season after suffering an ACL tear in preseason play.