Cardinals Release QB Colt McCoy; Kyler Murray To Begin Season On PUP List

Per Ian Rapoport of, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray will begin 2023 on the reserve/PUP list, which will require him to miss at least the first four games of the season. The bigger surprise is that Colt McCoy, who spent the past two seasons as Murray’s backup in Arizona, has been released, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Murray, of course, is the club’s franchise passer, and he signed a massive contract extension last July. But he suffered an ACL tear and a torn meniscus late in the 2022 season, and while there was some initial optimism that he would be cleared for Week 1 of the upcoming campaign, it had become increasingly apparent that would not be the case. As Arizona is clearly in rebuild mode — and perhaps in line for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2024 draft — it simply does not make sense for the team to rush Murray back onto the field.

Even after the recent trade that brought Josh Dobbs to the desert, the expectation was that McCoy would open the season as the Cardinals’ starting signal-caller, with Dobbs serving as his backup and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune as the third-stringer. On the other hand, new Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing worked as the Browns’ quarterbacks coach in 2022, when Dobbs was on the Cleveland roster, so there is some familiarity there. Additionally, McCoy’s 2022 season was cut short due to a concussion, and he spent time on IR with a calf injury prior to that. An elbow problem sidelined McCoy at the outset of this year’s offseason program.

The McCoy release creates $1.5MM of cap space for the Cardinals while leaving the club with a dead money charge of $3.5MM, as Mike Jurecki of Arizona Football Daily observes. As such, it seems clear that the move was not financially motivated and was instead designed to give younger players who might have longer futures with the team more of an opportunity.

McCoy, who will turn 37 next month, contemplated retirement this offseason. It is now fair to wonder if he will hang up the cleats or search for another opportunity to extend his playing career. The Texas product has started 36 games in the NFL, and though his 11-25 record as a starter is obviously uninspiring, he has had stretches of quality play. In 2021, for instance, he started three games in relief of an injured Murray and went 2-1 while completing 74.7% of his passes for three TDs against one interception.

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