The move doesn't have to happen this exact moment, but the Arizona Cardinals have a couple of tough decisions to make by the time practice rolls around Wednesday. Right tackle Bobby Massie will return from his two-game suspension. Because he did not count against the 53-man roster during those two games, his return forces a roster move and a tough decision on the offensive line.
First is the roster move. Someone will have to be released so Massie can be on the roster. Currently the Cardinals have nine offensive linemen on the roster. Keeping 10 seems to be a lot, especially since guard Mike Iupati could be returning to the lineup as well. So it could mean one of the nine is released. The only logical solution there is Bradley Sowell. I do not he has yet reached "vested veteran" status, so releasing him would not hurt the salary cap. Someone like Ted Larsen, if cut, would still earn his full 2015 salary and would count against the cap. But if Sowell if released, it means that first rounder D.J. Humphries would be the team's backup swing tackle. The question is whether he is ready.
Bu the decision to move someone on the roster isn't even the toughest decision. What will Massie do once on the roster? Will he start?
Earl Watford has been decent in his place. Has he done enough to remain the starter, as it seemed he would when the preseason ended?
General manager Steve Keim said on the radio he would discuss things with head coach Bruce Arians, but he would "defer to the coaches when it comes to the lineup." However, one thing is clear to Keim. "Earl has earned the right to be on the field," he said.
Arians said in his radio interview later on Monday it would not be an open competition. They would make a decision and go from there the rest of the season.
In his Monday media session, Arians both criticized Watford and praised him. "I thought Earl played solid. He is giving up too many hits on the quarterback, but he is really helping our running game," Arians said. "For him to do the job he did I thought was outstanding. Whether it was good enough for him to maintain it, we will see."
According to Pro Football Focus, Watford has given up three quarterback hits and six pressures. His run blocking grade, though, is a +3.7. In 2014, Massie allowed 28 hurries, eight QB hits and nine sacks. Massie was a -1.6 as a run blocker in 2014.
Who should be the starter in your opinion? Do you stay with Watford, despite some issues in pass protection, noting the line has yet to give up any sacks, or do you go back to Massie, knowing you might lose some strength in the run game, but feel he can protect Palmer better?