The Arizona Cardinals announced their cuts to the roster on Friday, one day ahead of the NFL deadline to get down to a 53-man roster. There were a few surprises in the final decisions. Of course, these cuts aren't necessarily permanent. The team can make changes as the season goes on.
"The one thing that I'll say about the 53-man roster is that it's written in pencil. This will not be the same 53-man roster that we go into play against Carolina next week," Coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Friday after the announcement was made.
"Obviously, there's still some maneuvering to be done yet, but a good portion of the team is going to stay in tact."
There will be over 700 players released around the NFL in the next few days. The Cardinals are going to keep an eye on that and see if there's anyone that can help the team. Whisenhunt wouldn't comment on any specific positions other than to say that everything is open except the quarterback position, unless a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady become available.
The biggest surprises were the decisions to keep all five tight ends, seven defensive linemen and to keep nine linebackers but only go with four safeties and four cornerbacks and one fullback.
One of the bigger names to get cut was punter Ben Graham who got beat out by Dave Zastudil. Graham had a down year in 2010 but was very good in 2009. Zastudil is a 10-year NFL vet brought in late in training camp. Whisenhunt said they have plenty of history with Zastudil from his time with Cleveland in the AFC North.
Both cornerbacks Fred Bennett and Marshay Green were cut which leaves only four at that position. We would expect the team will look at the waiver wire for additional depth there. Same with safety where Matt Ware was cut leaving four. Whisenhunt confirmed that both S Adrian Wilson and CB Michael Adams should be available to play in Week 1 barring any setbacks in their rehab.
Making the roster, for now, was defensive end Ronald Talley who wasn't predicted by anyone to still be here. He could be a guy that gets cut should another running back or defensive back becomes available that the team like. TE Stephen Spach is also a guy who could be let go is a spot is needed. TE Jim Dray was injured (pectoral strain) during Thursday's game. A long term prognosis is still not available. Spach could just be insurance until Dray's injury is confirmed to be minor.
At fullback, it was Reagan Maui'a who lost out to rookie Anthony Sherman. Maui'a should be able to land a job elsewhere if a team has need at that position. On the offensive line, backup center Ben Claxton lost out to D'Anthony Batiste which was unexpected.
All of the Cardinal's 2011 draft picks made this initial round of cuts.
Here's the full list of players cut:
- Cornerback FRED BENNETT
- Safety JARED CAMPBELL
- Center BEN CLAXTON
- Quarterback BRODIE CROYLE
- Linebacker WILL DAVIS
- Punter BEN GRAHAM
- Cornerback MARSHAY GREEN
- Defensive end KENNY IWEBEMA
- Tackle/Guard CLIFF LOUIS
- Defensive tackle RICKY LUMPKIN
- Fullback REAGAN MAUI'A
- Defensive end JEREMY NAVARRE
- Wide receiver AARON NICHOLS
- Cornerback BRYANT NNABUIFE
- Linebacker CYRIL OBIOZOR
- Center KRIS O'DOWD
- Guard TOM PESTOCK
- Running back WILLIAM POWELL
- Tight end STEPHEN SKELTON
- Linebacker KENDALL SMITH
- Linebacker PAGO TOGAFAU
- Cornerback THAD TURNER
- Safety MATT WARE
- Wide receiver ISAIAH WILLIAMS
- Tackle D.J. YOUNG