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.