ARIZONA CARDINALS

With Cardinals roster cuts announced, 53-man roster almost set

Sep 2, 2017, 7:09 PM
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, right, talks with general manager Steve Keim during pr...
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, right, talks with general manager Steve Keim during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals announced cuts and roster moves on Saturday to trim their roster to 53 players, allowing observers to draw several conclusions about the team.

However, not everything is set in stone. With more than 1,000 players hitting the free agent market all at once this year, the Cardinals could add pieces to make upgrades at certain positions and change the look of what is now the 53-man roster.

But for now, the positions look as follows:

Quarterbacks:

The QB position is perhaps the least surprising news of the day on Saturday, as the team went with three on the roster as expected. Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert are the guys.

Trevor Knight, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, was released.

Wide receivers:

After boasting earlier this year about the depth of his wide receiver room, head coach Bruce Arians later expressed displeasure with his receivers, saying his team didn’t have many NFL receivers on it.

The Cardinals trimmed that receiver group on Saturday by keeping Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams and Brittan Golden all on the roster. Aaron Dobson was put on IR.

Perhaps the most surprising pass-catcher to get the boot was Jeremy Ross, who caught 11 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in five preseason games.

Running backs:

Veteran Chris Johnson and rookie James Summers were both cut, leaving behind superstar David Johnson, Andre Ellington, Elijhaa Penny and Kerwynn Williams.

The injured T.J. Logan is technically on the 53-man as of Saturday, but as noted by ESPN’s Field Yates, players placed on IR Saturday are not eligible to return this season.

Starting Sunday, players placed on IR can be designated to return mid-season. So, look for Logan to potentially head to IR (which would also open up a roster spot for a free agent).

Tight ends:

Tight end typically hasn’t been a core piece of the Bruce Arians offense. Regardless, Jermaine Gresham, Ifeanyi Momah and Troy Niklas all return to the roster this season after each seeing playing time with the Cardinals in 2016.

Tight ends Hakeem Valles and Gerald Christian were released.

Offensive line:

A.Q. Shipley, Evan Boehm, Daniel Munyer, Mike Iupati, John Wetzel, Will Holden, D.J. Humphries, John Ulrick and Jared Veldheer comprise the Cardinals’ O-line after the roster moves.

Among the greatest surprises on the list of cuts were guards Dorian Johnson and Cole Toner.

The Cards selected Johnson in the fourth round (No. 115) of the 2017 NFL Draft, but released him on Saturday. Johnson signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals in May.

Toner, a fifth-round pick (No. 170) out of Harvard in 2016, made two appearances for the Cardinals last season.

Secondary:

When training camp began, a popular topic of discussion was the debate over who would play cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. Arians said Justin Bethel won that gig, but the Cardinals also retain cornerbacks Brandon Williams and Tramon Williams.

At safety, it’s Tyrann Mathieu, Rudy Ford, Tyvon Branch and Antoine Bethea.

Linebackers:

The Cardinals’ moves left eight linebackers on the roster. On the outside, it’s Markus Golden, Chandler Jones and Kareem Martin with Deone Bucannon (recovering from injury), Josh Bynes, Karlos Dansby, Philip Wheeler and first-round pick Haason Reddick on the inside.

Among the cuts was University of Arizona product Scooby Wright, who put on a strong performance during the preseason with 18 tackles and a forced fumble in five games.

Cap Capi’s emergence this preseason made for another surprise cut by the Cardinals at linebacker.

Defensive line:

With the loss of Calais Campbell in the offseason, the strength of the defensive line was a big item to keep an eye on this preseason.

Robert Nkemdiche had a nice start to Arizona’s five-game slate of preseason games, but suffered a calf injury during practice just a few days before the team’s preseason game against the Falcons. So, while the team awaits his return, they have Rodney Gunter, Josh Mauro, Corey Peters, Olsen Pierre, Frostee Rucker and Xavier Williams.

Special teams:

The release of punter Richie Leone might lead one to assume that Matt Wile will take those duties, but that’s not a foregone conclusion. Arizona Sports’ own Mike Jurecki reported this week that the Cardinals will have interest in recently-cut Carolina Panthers punter Andy Lee.

Meanwhile, kicker Phil Dawson and long snapper Aaron Brewer remain.

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