A number of players who were placed on IR after the preseason and prior to the regular season returned to practice today. These players will have a three-week practice window until they have to be activated to the active roster. Otherwise, they’ll be ineligible to return this season.
One of the most surprising returns is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton. The former undrafted free agent rode a strong preseason to a potential starting gig, but he was sidelined with second-degree burns after spilling hot oil on his legs and feet. Kliff Kingsbury previously said an early-October return may be a “little aggressive” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter), but the cornerback ended up working his way back to practice.
OCTOBER 5: The Cardinals will be promoting Ammendola to their 53-man roster soon. Kliff Kingsbury ruled out Prater for Week 5, moving Ammendola into position to kick for a second team this season. After going to training camp with the Jets, Ammendola kicked in two Chiefs games.
OCTOBER 4: Matt Ammendola has secured the chance to make a second fill-in cameo this season. After working out for the Cardinals, the young kicker is signing with the team’s practice squad, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
One of a few kickers to audition for the Cardinals on Monday, Ammendola will be in line to take over kicking duties for the NFC West team — in the event Matt Prater cannot go Sunday. Prater is battling a hip injury that prevented him from finishing the Cards’ Week 4 game.
This is quite familiar territory for Ammendola. After the Chiefs used a position player (Justin Reid) during part of their first game (in Arizona), they added Ammendola. That partnership crumbled after the former Jets kicker missed an extra point and a 34-yard field goal in the Chiefs’ Week 3 loss to the Colts. With Prater’s setback forcing the Cards to use a position player (Eno Benjamin) late in their win over the Panthers, they are calling on the second-year specialist.
Ammendola made every kick he attempted in the Chiefs’ Week 2 win over the Chargers but has otherwise struggled as a pro. The Oklahoma State product was just 13-for-19 on field goal tries — including an 0-for-3 mark on 50-plus-yarders — with the Jets last season, leading the team to sign Greg Zuerlein this offseason. Zuerlein beat out Ammendola in training camp.
Prater, 38, has been durable during his career. The 16th-year veteran’s last missed game due to injury came in 2010. He has been Arizona’s kicker for two seasons now, having signed with the Cardinals following a lengthy Lions stay.
Months after shopping Andy Isabellain trades, the Cardinals are cutting bait. The team waived the former second-round pick Tuesday, doing so to make room on the roster for Billy Price.
The Cardinals are signing Price off the Raiders’ practice squad. The team hosted the veteran center as a free agent in May, when it was not known if Rodney Hudson would be back, but Price found his way to Las Vegas. He will move to the NFL’s other desert team this week.
Isabella never came too close to justifying the Cards’ draft investment. The former No. 62 overall pick has played in three Arizona games this season, catching two passes for 21 yards. Despite DeAndre Hopkins‘ suspension and the injuries to Rondale Moore and A.J. Green, the Cards did not turn to Isabella as a steady contributor. He will be available on the waiver wire.
A standout at Division I-FCS UMass, Isabella arrived in Arizona months after Kliff Kingsbury did. The 5-foot-9 slot receiver topped out at 224 yards and two touchdowns — on 21 receptions — in 2020. Isabella, who caught nine passes in 15 games as a rookie, was one of three receivers the Cards chose in that 2019 draft. The other two, fourth-rounder Hakeem Butler and sixth-rounder KeeSean Johnson, are out of the league. This came during a rich receiver draft, which saw D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson chosen after Isabella went off the board on Day 2. The Cards shopped Isabella before free agency and then during the draft but found no takers.
Arizona drafted the 5-7 Moore in the 2021 second round and used their 2022 first-round pick in the Marquise Brown trade. Greg Dortch, who also goes 5-7, became Moore’s primary replacement to start this season. It will be interesting if another team takes a flier on Isabella, whose rookie deal expires at season’s end.
The Bengals drafted Price in the 2018 first round but benched him in his second season. Cincinnati traded Price to the Giants for defensive tackle B.J. Hill last year. Price did not see any action for the Raiders. Hudson is battling a knee injury, though he has not missed any time yet, while Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com adds guard Justin Pugh is also dealing with an injury situation.
The Cards traded for guard Cody Ford before the season, but a subsequent injury led the ex-Bill to IR. Kingsbury said (via Urban) Ford will not return to practice when first eligible this week; the former second-round pick is at least a couple weeks away from his practice window opening. Price will soon move into position as an interior backup in Arizona, his fourth NFL team.
Following the Chiefs’ lead, the Cardinals used a position player as their emergency kicker Sunday. Backup running back Eno Benjamin logged a kickoff for the Cardinals against the Panthers on Sunday. That arrangement, similar to the Chiefs’ usage of safety Justin Reid against the Cards in Week 1, will not persist past Week 4. With Matt Prater battling a right hip injury, the Cardinals worked out multiple kickers Monday.
Rodrigo Blankenship, Matt Ammendola — the Chiefs’ first post-Reid solution to fill in for Harrison Butker — Jose Borregales and Jonathan Garibayauditioned for the Cardinals, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Blankenship, whom the Colts turned to in their first full season without Adam Vinatieri, missed much of last year with an injury and was removed from his gig after struggling in Week 1 this year. Blankenship worked out for the Jaguars last week. Ammendola lasted two games as the Chiefs’ Butker fill-in, being cut after struggling in Week 3, while Garibay was part of the Cowboys’ kicking competition. The rookie UDFA did not make it out of training camp.
Ahead of Monday’s Rams-49ers matchup, here is the latest from the NFC West:
Although the 49ers turned to Jaylon Moore to replace Trent Williams in Week 3, Colton McKivitz will start against the Rams on Monday night. An ankle injury prevented McKivitz from replacing Williams against the Broncos, who pounced after the All-Pro’s exit, but he was the team’s swing tackle throughout the summer. With Williams facing a four- to six-week recovery timetable, McKivitz may have the blindside gig for a bit. The 49ers let 2021 swing tackle Tom Compton sign with the Broncos, but McKivitz — who filled in for Williams in a do-or-die Week 18 tilt in Los Angeles — has been with the team since arriving as a 2020 firth-rounder.
The 49ers have made a few changes at the slot cornerback spot over the past several weeks. After Darqueze Dennard entered camp with the job, rookie Samuel Womack supplanted him and led to the 49ers releasing the veteran. Deommodore Lenoir has since replaced Womack, with Kyle Shanahan indicating the 2021 fifth-rounder played ahead of the 2022 fifth-rounder due to superior practice work recently, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Lenoir played 29% of San Francisco’s defensive snaps last season but likely does not have a firm grip on the job over Womack, who impressed during training camp, just yet.
Staying on the subject of 49ers corners, Shanahan expressed optimism Jason Verrett would practice this week. Verrett’s practice window opens ahead of Week 5, with the 49ers carrying the injury-prone vet on their reserve/PUP list. Should Verrett prove recovered from his September 2021 ACL tear, Barrows notes a starting job should not be ruled out. Verrett played well as a 49ers starter in 2020, showing form that enticed the team to re-sign him in 2021 and this year. Emmanuel Moseley‘s past in the slot could allow for a transition, forming a Verrett-Mosley-Charvarius Ward trio, if Verrett is healthy.
Sean McVay did not seem to expect Van Jefferson to miss a third of the season, but that will happen. The Rams placed Jefferson on IR ahead of their Week 3 game, but McVay is adamant the third-year wideout did not suffer a setback upon returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com tweets. Jefferson’s IR move was more about roster construction, and The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue adds (via Twitter) the Rams expect their WR3 to be back when first eligible in Week 8 (following the team’s Week 7 bye).
Seahawks cornerback Tre Brown will not be ready to return when first eligible to come off the team’s PUP list. Pete Carroll confirmed the third-year corner remains a few weeks away, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). Brown missed last season’s first five games and was down for their final seven, with a Nov. 21 knee injury leading to the latter hiatus. Seattle’s cornerback room has changed considerably since Brown last played; it will be interesting to see what role the 2021 fourth-rounder will play upon returning.
September 30th, 2022 at 4:48pm CST by Sam Robinson
Allen Robinson flashed often during Rams training camp, and determining this signing will fail after three games is ill-advised. But early indications are Robinson’s 2021 Bears performance was not an outlier. The veteran dropped a touchdown pass against the Cardinals and has just seven catches for 88 yards with Los Angeles. The Rams came in with a monster offer — three years, $46.5MM; $30MM fully guaranteed — to sign the former Jaguars and Bears wideout, using their cap space on the ninth-year player after Von Miller chose the Bills. Other teams were interested in Robinson, albeit at lower price points, but SI.com’s Albert Breer notes teams did not like what Robinson put on tape. That is not exactly surprising, considering how badly Robinson’s final Bears season (38 receptions, 410 yards, one touchdown) went. But the early returns on Robinson’s Rams deal are not promising. Rams-Odell Beckham Jr. connections will likely continue.
The Cardinals‘ receiving corps will not be at full strength until at least Week 7, when DeAndre Hopkins is eligible to return from his PED suspension. But the team may have one of its previously unavailable weapons in uniform Sunday. Rondale Moore is tracking toward returning from his hamstring injury, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. The 2021 second-rounder, who caught 54 passes for 435 yards as a rookie, has missed Arizona’s first three games. He managed three limited practices this week. Marquise Brown, who suffered a foot injury in Week 3, is also likely to play. A.J. Green will miss Week 4 with a knee injury.
September 30th, 2022 at 1:19pm CST by Sam Robinson
As we exit September, trade rumors will become a steady NFL topic. This year’s deadline falls on Nov. 1. That will return cap-space discussions to the forefront. Here is how every team stacks up financially going into October, via Over The Cap.
Cleveland Browns: $35.94MM
Philadelphia Eagles: $10.89MM
Denver Broncos: $10.67MM
Carolina Panthers: $10.47MM
Las Vegas Raiders: $10.35MM
Dallas Cowboys: $9.25MM
Pittsburgh Steelers: $8.64MM
Green Bay Packers: $8.57MM
Indianapolis Colts: $7.97MM
Atlanta Falcons: $7.92MM
New York Jets: $6.97MM
Chicago Bears: $6.84MM
San Francisco 49ers: $6.75MM
Miami Dolphins: $6.51MM
Arizona Cardinals: $6.25MM
Los Angeles Chargers: $5.83MM
New York Giants: $5.49MM
Jacksonville Jaguars: $5.41MM
Los Angeles Rams: $5.38MM
Baltimore Ravens: $4.51MM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $3.87MM
New England Patriots: $3.5MM
Cincinnati Bengals: $3.16MM
New Orleans Saints: $2.86MM
Detroit Lions: $2.64MM
Washington Commanders: $2.58MM
Buffalo Bills: $2.44MM
Tennessee Titans: $2.41MM
Seattle Seahawks: $2.28MM
Kansas City Chiefs: $2.12MM
Houston Texans: $1.64MM
Minnesota Vikings: $1.47MM
The Eagles’ number is certainly far closer to the Vikings’ last-place figure than what the Browns have stockpiled. Cleveland would stand to have room to augment its 2022 roster, via a patient free agent or a trade. That could depend on where Jacoby Brissett has the team stationed going into the Nov. 1 deadline. But the Browns also appear to be preparing for their Deshaun Watson future. Watson’s unprecedented contract spikes from a $9.4MM cap number (2022) to a record-shattering $54.99MM numbers from 2023-26. As that reality awaits, the Browns rolling over cap space to 2023 would be prudent.
With Sterling Shepard‘s ACL tear moving the veteran wide receiver to IR, the Giants will need to both cover that cost ($6.3MM) and add a contract to fill the roster spot. Every team will go through versions of that issue this season, as injuries pile up. The Giants are prepared to eat a significant chunk ofKenny Golladay‘s 2022 base salary ($13MM) to move him, eyeing an escape from his $4.5MM 2023 guarantee. No takers have emerged, though it will be interesting to see if a market for the former Pro Bowler forms once injuries affect more teams’ receiver situations.
Although Ogbuehi is a former first-round pick, he has started five games since the 2018 season. He landed on Houston’s practice squad IR list earlier this month but will be part of the Jets’ scramble to reassemble their tackle depth chart after George Fant‘s IR trip. Ogbuehi’s Bengals audition seasons came back in 2016 and ’17; the Seahawks used him as a fill-in starter in four 2020 games. Ogbuehi, 30, joins Mike Remmers as Jets tackle additions this week.
The Ravens were interested in adding Luketa off the Cardinals’ practice squad, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. That looks to have prompted the Cards’ decision to move him up to their 53-man roster. The Cards drafted Luketa in this year’s seventh round (256th overall) out of Penn State.
Tennessee’s outside linebacker shuffle included waiving Tuszka, who is now with his third team this year. A former Broncos seventh-round pick, Tuszka spent the offseason with the Steelers. He will move to a Chargers team that has Joey Bosalikely to miss games after suffering what Brandon Staley called a serious groin injury.