Pro Football Focus gives surprise cut candidate in Cardinals offense

Aug 24, 2022, 9:26 PM | Updated: Aug 25, 2022, 8:32 am

As the NFL season grows more imminent, the Arizona Cardinals have some work ahead of them to get their roster down to 53 players by Tuesday’s 1 p.m. MST deadline.

With the beginning of the season comes plenty of surprise cuts — veteran fan-favorites, new signings, recent draft picks. Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus said multiple league sources think Cardinals running back Darrel Williams could be a candidate in the final roster crunch.

Williams hasn’t been in Arizona for long, having officially signed to a one-year deal on May 31.

The fifth-year undrafted running back out of LSU spent the past four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom he won a Super Bowl in 2019. He also had 248 touches, nine touchdowns and 1,295 total yards since 2020.

More of a hybrid-style halfback, Williams signed a fully guaranteed contract for $1.035 million to replace Chase Edmonds — who signed with the Miami Dolphins. The Cardinals’ depth at running back is unclear, but they have Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward. They also used a sixth-round pick on USC running back Keaontay Ingram in April’s draft.

On the other hand, Williams has played four snaps all preseason, Benjamin has started both preseason games, Ingram has impressed and Arizona likes Ward. The Cardinals would save less than $895,000 by trading Williams. Since his contract is guaranteed, if cut, they’d only recoup that money if he signed elsewhere.

With clear No. 1 running back James Conner expected to get most of the touches, Benjamin’s and Ward’s special teams prowess adds to the value they bring to the Cardinals. This could determine who rounds out the running back room.

Conner re-signed with the Cardinals in the offseason after an impressive 2021 campaign. Only MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor outscored Conner on the ground, and needed 130 more rushing attempts to do it.

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