Arizona Cardinals Rumors & News

Cardinals Release Philip Wheeler

  • The Cardinals have released linebacker Philip Wheeler, who has been in and out of the organization on multiple occasions since signing with Arizona in July. Wheeler garnered a ton of experience with the Colts, Raiders, Dolphins and Falcons from 2008-16 (133 games, 66 starts), but the 32-year-old hasn’t made much of a defensive impact in recent seasons.

Cardinals To Sign Jim Dray

Jim Dray

The Cardinals have agreed to sign free agent tight end Jim Dray, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports (on Twitter). The team’s in need of a body at tight end with Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas battling injuries, Somers notes.

This will be Dray’s second stint in Arizona. The 30-year-old began his career there in 2010 after going in the seventh round of the draft and was a member of the Cardinals for four years, catching 48 passes in 55 games (18 starts). Dray’s most successful year to date was his final season with the Cards, 2013, when he tallied personal bests in receptions (26), targets (32) and touchdowns (two). He went on to play with the Browns, Bills and 49ers from 2014-16.

While Dray was mildly successful in Cleveland from 2014-15 (32 appearances, 18 starts, 23 catches), he wasn’t a factor at all in Buffalo or San Francisco last year. Dray appeared in six games and, for the first time in his career, failed to record a catch. As a result, he didn’t draw any known interest before rejoining the Cardinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/14/17

The latest workout updates from across the NFL, courtesy of Howard Balzer (Twitter links here):

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

New York Jets

Practice Squad Updates: 9/14/17

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: K Harrison Butker
  • Cut: DT Eric Crume

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians On David Johnson

  • The Cardinals are hoping to get running back David Johnson “back by Thanksgiving or Christmas,” coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM. The initial word on Johnson’s wrist injury has been that he could be out for two to three months. Arians’ timetable seems to jibe with that.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/13/17

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: CB Greg Mabin

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

  • Signed: WR Brian Brown
  • Released: S Jameill Showers

Detroit Lions

  • Signed: OT Storm Norton
  • Cut: DE Pat O’Connor

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: G Darrell Greene

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

  • Signed: CB Ryan Lewis

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/17

Today’s minor roster moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

  • Cut: CB LaDarius Gunter

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: ILB Steven Johnson
  • Cut: LB L.J. Fort

Cardinals’ Calais Campbell Offer Topped Out At $9MM AAV

The Cardinals were not willing to enter the same ballpark as the Jaguars or Broncos did in the Calais Campbell sweepstakes in March.

An Uninterrupted video (YouTube link) reveals Campbell wanted his agent, Tom Condon, to take the Jaguars’ $15MM-per-year offer back to the Cardinals to see if they’d match. Condon was fairly certain the Cardinals wouldn’t, and although he did call GM Steve Keim back, both Keim and Cards football administration director Mike Disner told the agent they didn’t want to hear Jacksonville’s updated offer because they did not believe they could match whatever it was.

This video lists the Cardinals’ top proposal at $9MM AAV over three years, and the Cards are categorized as being out of the running early in the frenetic process.

Campbell said $15MM per year would have been enough for the Cardinals to keep him off the UFA market. The 31-year-old defensive end felt his age would keep him off the Fletcher Cox/Muhammad Wilkerson/J.J. Watt tier — each makes north of $16MM annually — but viewed $15MM annually as a reasonable goal.

The Jaguars ended up meeting that standard on the fourth offer. Jacksonville initially offered $11MM per year, which Washington matched, according to the video. Both teams then submitted $12MM-AAV proposals. The Jags improved their proposal to $14.75MM per year, inducing a celebration from Campbell and his inner circle. The video does not show an additional Redskins proposal.

But the Broncos’ offer — one confirmed to be for $13MM annually with $26MM guaranteed in the first two years of the deal (Jacksonville’s pact came with $30MM guaranteed in Years 1-2) — “changed the game” for the Denver native. While some members of his camp thought the Broncos were the better legacy play, Campbell also said the Jaguars were building something. Campbell mentioned earlier in the video the Redskins, on the surface, presented a better chance to win the Super Bowl than the Jaguars.

The Jaguars elevated their proposal to the $15MM-per-year target Campbell sought, though, and he decided to choose the Jaguars over the Broncos. Denver’s three-year offer included a third-year option for $10MM, Campbell said in this piece.

The video also shows Campbell calling former Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets stalwart Chauncey Billups for advice. Condon mentioned the state income tax disparity between Florida and Colorado as a selling point for the Jaguars. Condon chuckled over the phone when Campbell asked him to see if the Cardinals would match the Jaguars’ $15MM-per-year offer, but Campbell insisted his agent make the call anyway.

Campbell played nine seasons with the Cards. His age-31 season’s off to a banner start. He leads the NFL with four sacks after leading the charge in the Jaguars’ 10-sack performance against the Texans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign RB Chris Johnson

With star running back David Johnson set to undergo wrist surgery, the Cardinals are turning to a familiar face. Arizona signed running back Chris Johnson today, the team announced. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com first reported the signing.

The 31-year-old rushed for 814 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to David Johnson as the club’s starting running back in 2015. Unfortunately, he missed the bulk of last year due to injury.

CJ2K missed the team’s initial 53-man cut this year. Luckily for the Cardinals, he was still available when they needed him. The former Titans star now profiles as an insurance addition. This marks his latest go-round with the team, and the backfield looks similar to how it did during Johnson’s productive 2015 slate.

Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams each remain on the team and will likely be expected to form an emergency committee in place of David Johnson. Each has been with the Cards for at least three seasons, with Ellington now in his fifth Arizona campaign. Ellington served as the Cardinals’ primary starter in 2014 before CJ2K relegated him to backup work a year later.

But the Cards now possess plenty of experience for a team that experienced the setback they did. While none of their replacement options is on David Johnson’s level, the Cardinals may be able to use this depth to reasonably withstand this seminal development collectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ David Johnson To Have Wrist Surgery

Cardinals running back David Johnson will undergo wrist surgery this week, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. He’s expected to miss between two and three months of action. The Cardinals will place him on IR with the hope that he’ll be able to return during the season.

Sunday will represent Johnson’s first missed game as a pro, and while the Cardinals — who are now signing Chris Johnson — have some veterans who will take over, none are on David Johnson‘s level. While David Johnson sat behind both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington as a rookie in 2015, he’s taken massive leaps as the latest Arizona third-round success story.

David Johnson must spend at least eight weeks on IR, so Week 10 would profile as his earliest return window. The Cardinals play both Seahawks games in the second half, with Week 10 being the NFC West contenders’ first meeting.

The Cardinals hoped the second opinion Johnson sought could prevent this, but AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban categorized the attempt as a “hail mary” (Twitter link).

The 2016 first-team All-Pro was Arizona’s top weapon and its most reliable factor in making a potential playoff return. But this changes the Cardinals’ season before Week 2 even begins. The third-year back totaled over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns last season.

In addition to Ellington and Chris Johnson, the Cardinals employ Kerwynn Williams — who’s functioned as a backup in Arizona for four seasons — and just signed D.J. Foster off the Patriots’ practice squad. Arizona also has 2016 UDFA Elijhaa Penny, although with CJ2K now back in the fold, this five-running back setup may not last — especially now that David Johnson will be on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.