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Cardinals’ training camp battle: A new punter after six seasons with Andy Lee

Arizona aims to get younger at key special teams position

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts Robert Scheer/IndyStar Staff-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals’ rookies and veterans reported to the facilities for the start of training camp last Tuesday, July 25.

As 90 football players take to the field to earn their place on the depth chart, there will be plenty of position battles all across the roster taking place with many big decisions looming.

One big position battle to watch is at punter.

Three-time Pro Bowler Andy Lee was the Cardinals’ punter for the last six seasons but has remained unsigned since his contract expired at the start of the new league year.

As it stands, it seems Arizona will have a new punter for the first time since 2017 as Nolan Cooney and Matt Haack battle for the job for the upcoming season.

Cooney, 26, signed a reserve/future contract with Arizona in January. He was an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse in 2021. He made stints with the Cardinals, Saints, and Colts but has yet to make a regular season appearance.

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

He will be battling with Haack, a six-year veteran who spent his first four years with the Dolphins before spending the last two seasons with the Bills and recently the Colts. The 29-year-old punter played in 98 games since 2017, averaged 44.5 yards per punt and has downed 160 of his 429 career punts in the 20-yard line.

And Haack is no stranger to Cooney.

Last season, the Colts signed Cooney to their practice squad after Haack’s struggles. After Haack’s performance improved, Cooney was released late October but signed with Arizona a week later.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts Robert Scheer/IndyStar Staff-USA TODAY Sports

It is clear the Cardinals are trying to get younger as they seem to have moved on from Andy Lee, who turns 41 in August.

Though Cooney and Haack will be given every opportunity to win the punter job, the waiver wire following the conclusion of the preseason could shake up the roster at nearly every position.