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Initial 53 Man Roster Reactions

NFL: FEB 08 Super Bowl LVI - Super Bowl Experience Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Background: LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Detail view of the Arizona Cardinals logo seen at the Super Bowl Experience on February 08, 2022, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Hey Birdganger, how was your day yesterday?

How many times did you check twitter or the transaction wires to see what moves the Cardinals were making?

When all the moves were made by 1 PM, Arizona time, here are the 53 players the Cardinals kept:

Here are my thoughts, position by position, with an account of how my “Best 53” choices fared (correct choices in BOLD).

The initial tally: 45 out of 53 (some players might be back on the roster today)


  • 1 —- Kyler Murray
  • 12 —- Colt McCoy

This year it seemed somewhat of a given that the Cardinals would waive Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano in order to protect the depth at other positions.

Will McSorley or Guarantano get claimed? I think the Cards guessed right that neither one would get claimed.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if Kliff puts in a waiver wire claim for Kellen Mond (Vikings) or E.J. Perry (Jaguars).


  • 6 —- James Connor
  • 26 —- Eno Benjamin
  • 29 —- Jonathan Ward
  • 30 —- Keaontay Ingram

Initial reaction:

It appears that the Cardinals may place Jonathan Ward or the IR “designated to return” list, which would open up another roster spot.

Player I whiffed on:

  • 24 —- Darrel Williams

I am very interested to see how DW looks like when he gets some extended snaps. He should be able to help the team prepare for the Chiefs.


  • 87 —- Maxx Williams
  • 86 —- Zach Ertz
  • 89 —- Stephen Anderson
  • 85 —- Trey McBride

I whiffed on Stephen Anderson (initially?), but he was participating at practice yesterday and this could be an arrangement like I believe the Cardinals also have with veteran LS Aaron Brewer for them, as vested veterans, to go on waivers for a day and then be re-signed to either a longer deal or their same contract fully guaranteed.

As I argued in “Best 53”, there is some uncertainty about Maxx Williams’ ability to play Week 1 (could he be an IR candidate>), plus Zach Ertz has been dealing with a calf injury while Trey McBride (back) has been trying to get back to full strength and making up for a lack of reps.


  • 10 —- DeAndre Hopkins (returns Week 7)
  • 2 —- Marquise Brown
  • 4 —- Rondale Moore
  • 17 —- Andy Isabella
  • 83 —- Greg Dortch
  • 18 —- A.J. Green

I whiffed on Antoine Wesley, another possible IR candidate.

Word is that Andy Isabella has been continuing to ask the Cardinals to trade him saying that he would like a fresh start with a new team. One would think that Isabella’s trade value is now the highest it’s been in four years.

Either Kliff Kingsbury has to step in and assure Andy that he’s WR3 while D-Hop is on suspension, or, the Cardinals should honor Andy’s request. Either commit playing time to him or let him get it with another team.


  • 74 —- D.J. Humphries
  • 67 —- Justin Pugh
  • 61 —- Rodney Hudson
  • 76 —- Will Hernandez
  • 68 —- Kelvin Beachum
  • 79 —- Josh Jones
  • 64 —- Sean Harlow
  • 72 —- Cody Ford
  • 78 —- Marquis Hayes

Unfortunately, Marquis Hayes’ knee injury is worse than first thought. Dang.

  • 54 —- Lecitus Smith

In his place the Cardinals retained C Lecitus Smith. Good move.


  • 99 —- JJ Watt
  • 97 —- Zach Allen
  • 94 —- Rashard Lawrence
  • 91 —- Michael Dogbe
  • 95 —- Leki Fotu
  • 93 —- Jonathan Ledbetter
  • 75 —- Manny Jones

Was very disappointed the coaches did not protect Manny Jones, who put his impressive athleticism and strength on tape for all 32 teams to see. Hopefully, he clears waivers and is eventually brought into the DI rotation while performing his Kyler Murray imitations for years to come.


  • 44 —- Markus Golden
  • 45 —- Dennis Gardeck
  • 42 —- Devon Kennard
  • 52 —- Victor Dimukeje
  • 97 —- Cameron Thomas
  • 41 —- Myjai Sanders
  • 43 —- Jesse Luketa

The teaser of the day was feeling elated that Jesse Luketa made the roster and then learning that Steve Keim and the coaches cut him after the Trayvon Mullen trade. In no way are some of the players the Cardinals kept, especially at ILB, as explosive, tenacious and physically dynamic as Jesse Luketa.

Is there a trade in the works for another edge rusher?


  • 25 —- Zaven Collins
  • 51 —- Tanner Vallejo
  • 50 —- Chandler Wooten
  • 47 —- Zeke Turner

Of course, I knew that Keim and the coaches were going to keep Nick Vigil, the ILB with a 42.1 PFF grade the coaches bubble wrapped for the entire pre-season, but I felt I needed to make a statement about how promising Chandler Wooten looked this pre-season.

To see Chandler Wooten get cut, as I mentioned in a tweet above, just confirms this fan’s opinion that Vance Joseph’s and Billy Davis’ woeful ineptitude at evaluating and coaching ILBers.

Of course, the Cardinals list Isaiah Simmons in this ILB group —- thus, if he is actually starting next to Zaven Collins at ILB, it makes it even more farcical as to why they gave Nick Vigil the pre-season star treatment.

Alas, the agonizing thought comes to mind that Vigil is now the new Hicks and that Collins will remain the far more athletic and explosive 2nd string MIKE.

  • 57 —- Nick Vigil
  • 56 —- Ben Niemmann

Ben Niemmann came on strong in pre-season game #3, but why commit a roster spot to him when they already have Vigil?

Likely they want to pick Niemann’s brains about the Chiefs’ offense. Good move. And, hey, maybe Niemann outplays Vigil?

Niemann’s 47.1 PFF grade last year eclipses Vigil’s 42.1. However, while Vigil stood on the sidelines, Niemann compiled the best PFF pre-season grade of his career at 82.3, right behind Zaven Collins at 84.0 and Tanner Vallejo at 83.3.

Some fans are still asking why the Cardinals didn’t cut Tanner Vallejo. Tanner Vallejo is the leader of the Cardinals short yardage and goal line defense. Tanner Vallejo runs downhill to the football, like the kid named Wooten.


  • 7 —- Byron Murphy
  • 33 —- Antonio Hamilton
  • 20 —- Marco Wilson
  • 35 —- Christian Matthew
  • 27 —- Trayvon Mullen

This is a feel-good trade if Trayvon Mullen shows up healthy and highly motivated. Isaiah Simmons can play a significant role in keeping Mullen’s eyes on the prize.

It looks like Antonio Hamilton will be placed on the IR for at least 4 games. Sure hope that whatever his prognosis is, that he is going to be able to return to full health as quickly as possible. Hamilton has been one of the great coming of age stories of this year’s camp.

In Hamilton’s absence, the Cardinals are apt to sign or acquire via trade or waivers another CB or two. One would hope. Right?


  • 3 —- Budda Baker
  • 34 —- Jalen Thompson
  • 9 —- Isaiah Simmons
  • 48 —- Tae Daley

Whiffed on Charles Washington and Deionte Thompson. Could Washington be an IR candidate? As for Deionte (50.7), I thought he was far outplayed this season by Tae Daley (65.2), who was cut with an injury settlement. Hopefully, when Daley arm is healed, the Cardinals will immediately get him back in the fold. TD is a baller.

  • 28 —- Charles Washington
  • 45 —- Deionte Thompson


  • 46 —- LS Aaron Brewer
  • 5 —- K Matt Prater
  • 14 —- P Andy Lee

As mentioned previously, this looks like a delay of game tactic where the team can cut LS Aaron Brewer, a vested veteran (who can’t get claimed) and then re-sign him to the roster asap.

Here is the list of the players the Cardinals cut:


LS Aaron Brewer

QB Trace McSorley

TE Stephen Anderson

OL Rashaad Coward

S Tae Daley (waived/injured)

QB Jarrett Guarantano

OL Danny Isidora

DL Manny Jones

WR Jontre Kirklin

OL Greg Long (waived/injured)

OL Josh Miles (waived/injured)

OL Justin Murray (injury settlement)

TE Chris Pierce Jr. (waived/injured)

DL Christian Ringo (injury settlement)

TE Bernhard Seikovits

DL Antwaun Woods

WR Victor Bolden Jr.

CB Josh Jackson

OLB Devon Kennard

OLB Jesse Luketa

ILB Chandler Wooten

OL Koda Martin

ILB Joe Walker

WR Andre Baccellia

CB Jace Whittaker

S James Wiggins

With a number of injury settlements, it is likely that Steve Keim will be very active in adding players who were cut from other teams to the Cardinals’ practice squad, in addition to trying to re-sign the best players he released yesterday. Players who are waived have the prerogative to sign a practice squad contract with any team.

My Top 5 Practice Squad Hopefuls (of candidates not currently injured or vets who could be returning today to the roster):

  1. OLB Jesse Luketa
  2. ILB Chandler Woten
  3. DT Manny Jones
  4. WR Victor Bolden Jr.
  5. QB Jarrett Guarantano

Your top 5?

Your initial roster reactions?