Dennis Gardeck

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/11/21

With Week 1 games on tap for 28 teams Sunday, here is Saturday’s extensive batch of minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Cardinals Activate J.J. Watt From PUP List

J.J. Watt is now firmly on track for the Cardinals’ season opener. The team activated its high-profile free agency addition from the active/PUP list Monday. Watt had missed all of Arizona’s training camp due to a hamstring injury.

The Cardinals gave Watt a two-year, $28MM deal, beating out several other teams, and are hoping to pair the five-time All-Pro with Chandler Jones. Watt’s injury and Jones’ contract-related disenchantment have not made this an especially smooth camp for Cards pass rushers, but the duo is as of now en route to begin the season in Arizona’s lineup.

Watt missed most of the 2016 and ’17 seasons due to injury and saw a torn pectoral muscle sideline him for a lengthy stretch in 2019, but the future Hall of Fame pass rusher did play 16-game slates in 2018 and in 2020. This hamstring injury, which occurred during a conditioning test at the outset of camp, did not represent a great sign for Watt’s durability going into a 17-game season. But the Cardinals have exercised caution with the 32-year-old defensive end. His missing Week 1 due to this injury did not appear to be on the table.

Arizona also activated linebacker Dennis Gardeck from its PUP list. Gardeck suffered an ACL tear last season. The Cardinals still re-signed the former UDFA in April and hope to redeploy him for a fourth season. Gardeck has been one of the Cards’ top special-teamers, playing more than 70% of Arizona’s special teams snaps in each of his three seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/15/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Cut: QB Kyle Sloter

New Orleans Saints

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/15/21

We’ve compiled a handful of tender decisions below:

  • The Cardinals are tendering linebacker Dennis Gardeck at a second-round value, which is worth around $3.38MM. The former undrafted free agent has spent his entire three-year career with Arizona, primarily appearing on special teams. However, the 26-year-old took on a bigger defensive role in 2020, finished with seven sacks in only 93 snaps. Gardeck tore his ACL late in the season, so his status for 2021 is in doubt.
  • The Chargers won’t be tendering defensive end Isaac Rochell, which comes as a bit of a surprise. The 25-year-old had a solid season for Los Angeles, starting six games while compiling 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Rochell has 9.5 career sacks and 12 QB hits in 51 career games.
  • The Packers have tendered wideout Malik Taylor, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). After spending much of his rookie season on Green Bay’s practice squad, Taylor managed to appear in 15 games for the Packers this past season. He ultimately hauled in five receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. He also returned a pair of kicks and compiled three tackles.
  • The Bills won’t be tendering cornerback Levi Wallace, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). However, there’s still a chance the 25-year-old lands back in Buffalo. The cornerback has started 28 games for Buffalo over the past two years, compiling four interceptions and 17 passes defended.
  • The Cowboys are tendering wideout Cedrick Wilson and nose tackle Antwaun Woods. Wilson has appeared in 22 games over the past two years, compiling 25 touches for 223 yards from scrimmage. Woods has started 32 of his 39 games for Dallas over the past three years, compiling 80, four tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

NFC Notes: Lynn, Lions, Goldman, Bears, Gardeck, Cardinals

The Lions got Jared Goff back in the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade, but with all their newfound draft capital they very well may take another passer early. They’ve got the seventh overall pick in April, plus two future first-rounders from the Rams now. Even if they do draft a young quarterback, it sounds like new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn would prefer Goff to play initially. After acknowledging that if there were a dramatic difference in training camp he would have to play the better player to keep the locker room, Lynn explained his belief that a rookie quarterback should sit at first, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’d love to see that rookie sit and watch for a little while. If he could watch for half the season or watch for the first year like Patrick Mahomes did (behind Alex Smith), I believe he can learn so much from the right veteran quarterback because a lot of rookies come into this league and they’re not ready,” the Lions’ new offensive play-caller said. “The speed of the game is twice as fast as it was in college and they don’t have success. And in today’s environment with social media things get out of whack and some of these guys lose their confidence and, hell, they never get it back. So if I can sit a rookie, I will. If I can.

Of course, Lynn was the head coach of the Chargers this past year when they initially started Tyrod Taylor over first-round pick Justin Herbert. An injury knocked out Taylor after only one game, and Herbert took the job and never looked back.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Many teams lost full-time starters due to COVID-19 opt outs for 2020, including the Bears with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Goldman started at least 15 games at nose tackle in each of the three previous seasons for Chicago before sitting out this past year. Fortunately for the Bears, new defensive coordinator Sean Desai said Monday that the team believes they’ll have him back in 2021, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Due to the league’s opt-out rules, Goldman’s contract, which owes him $4.75MM next year, tolled to 2021 automatically.
  • Cardinals outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck had a breakout 2020 season when he recorded seven sacks, but unfortunately it ended in injury. He was placed on injured reserve with a couple of games left to go, but we didn’t know at the time how severe it was. In an Instagram post last month, Gardeck revealed it was a torn ACL that he suffered. An UDFA in 2018 out of D2 school Sioux Falls, he was just a special teamer his first two years. He still was only getting limited snaps this past year but made the most of them, racking up the seven sacks despite playing less than ten percent of the defensive snaps. He had three multi-sack games. Unfortunately due to how late his ACL tear came, he should be considered questionable for Week 1 right now.
  • In case you missed it, the 49ers are reportedly either going to take a ‘big swing’, or stick with Jimmy Garoppolo.

Cardinals Sign 24 UDFAs

The Cardinals have signed enough undrafted free agents to fill a starting lineup. Of course, it’s likely that only a few will actually make Arizona’ final cut. The complete rundown of Arizona’s UDFA class is as follows:

  • CB Elijah Battle (West Virginia)
  • TE Alec Bloom (Connecticut)
  • LB Dennis Gardeck (Sioux Falls)
  • LB Frank Ginda (San Jose State)
  • OL Will House (Southern Nazarene)
  • S A.J. Howard (Appalachian State)
  • DE Alec James (Wisconsin)
  • QB Chad Kanoff (Princeton)
  • K Matt McCrane (Kansas State)
  • LB Mike Needham (Southern Utah)
  • CB Deatrick Nichols (South Florida)
  • DT Owen Obasuyi (Hampton)
  • OL Austin Olsen (Southern Illinois)
  • LB Matthew Oplinger (Yale)
  • S Jonathan Owens (Missouri Western)
  • FB Austin Ramesh (Wisconsin)
  • WR Trent Sherfield (Vanderbilt)
  • CB Tavierre Thomas (Ferris State)
  • WR Jalen Tolliver (Arkansas-Monticello)
  • WR Jonah Trinnaman (BYU)
  • S Zeke Turner (Washington)
  • TE Andrew Vollert (Weber State)
  • OL Brant Weiss (Toledo)
  • WR Corey Willis (Central Michigan)

The Cardinals also have six drafted rookies to account for, meaning that they presently have 99 players in total. The Cardinals will be laying off at least nine players in the coming days in order to sign the aforementioned UDFAs to contracts.

Kicker Phil Dawson inked a two-year, $6MM deal with the Cardinals last year, but the team could save $2.5MM with just $1MM in dead money by releasing him. In theory, McCrane could have an opportunity to unseat him, especially since he would represent a cheaper option. Last year, Dawson connected on 80% of his field goal tries, including 4-of-5 from 50+ yards. He also nailed the longest field goal try of his NFL career when he sank a 57-yard game winner against the Jaguars.