Mike Nugent looks set to continue as Arizona’s kicker for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals placed Zane Gonzalez on IR on Saturday and promoted Nugent from their practice squad.
The Cardinals gave Nugent a chance to kick in a 16th NFL season last week, calling on him to replace an injured Gonzalez. With Saturday’s transaction sidelining Gonzalez for the rest of the regular season, the 38-year-old Nugent will receive more opportunities to help the Cards into the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Gonzalez has struggled this season, having seen a game-tying field goal from inside 50 yards fall short against the Dolphins and having missed five other field goals (16-for-22) in his third Cardinals campaign. The former Browns kicker, down because of a back injury, will be eligible to return for Arizona’s playoff game — should the Cards qualify. Nugent made 4 of 4 field goals in the Cards’ win over the Giants last week.
Joining Gonzalez on IR for the next three weeks: Jordan Phillips. The pricey free agent acquisition will head to IR for the second time this season. Because this is Phillips’ second time on IR, his season is over.
Phillips has dealt with a balky hamstring this season. He returned from IR last week to play against the Giants, but a setback will sideline a key Cards defender for the team’s most critical stretch of games in years. The Cardinals now have D-linemen Phillips, Corey Peters and Josh Mauro on IR.
The winless Cardinals will see another starting right tackle head to IR. After Arizona placed would-be right-edge starter Marcus Gilbert on IR, the team moved Jordan Mills off the 53-man roster because of injury.
A knee injury will send Mills to IR as well. Mills made it through limited practices this week, pointing to the recent addition being a possible IR-return candidate after two months. But he had not fared well in his 81 snaps this season. Justin Murray, a waiver claim Mills replaced in the Cards’ starting lineup in Week 3, will reclaim the right tackle job, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.
Mills signed with the Dolphins this offseason but did not make the rebuilding team’s roster. He then caught on with the Cardinals just before the season on a one-year, $1.25MM deal. The Cards have struggled up front for a few years now, with injuries continuing to ransack this franchise’s first-string blockers. Mills started each game of the previous three Bills seasons but was not brought back for Buffalo’s 2019 campaign.
The Cardinals replaced Mills on their active roster with tight end Darrell Daniels, a practice squad player who has bounced on an off Arizona’s roster this season.