The source of some strange, unpredicted preseason trades in the past few weeks, the Cardinals have been busy trying to figure out the 53-man roster they’ll open the season with. While some of their biggest cuts came in the days leading up to the deadline and the team is likely to continue making adjustments leading up to opening day, here are the cuts made to officially set team’s initial 53-man roster:
The release of the long-time Cardinals long snapper, Brewer, comes as a bit of a surprise as the only other long snapper on the roster, undrafted rookie Matt Hembrough, is currently on injured reserve. They’ll likely target a free agent who is left available after cut day.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was not moved from the physically unable to perform list, nor was cornerback Garrett Williams moved from the non-football injury list. Both will attempt to make returns shortly after the start of the season. Rookie backup center Gaines’ first NFL season is unfortunately over before it could begin after sustaining a knee injury in the team’s preseason finale.
The Cardinals have added a veteran center to their OL grouping, with the team announcing today that they’ve signed Pat Elflein. The Cardinals also added tight end Geoff Swaim, wide receivers Davion Davis and Kaden Davis, and long snapper Jack Coco. To round out the transactions, the team placed long snapper Matt Hembrough on injured reserve and released tight end Chris Pierce.
Swaim received a higher guarantee, per GOPHNX.com’s Howard Balzer, who notes (via Twitter) the base value ($1.7MM) and signing bonus ($450K) figures for the veteran tight end. Elflein’s contract checks just above the league minimum. The former Vikings, Jets and Panthers blocker signed a one-year, $1.15MM deal with just $25K fully guaranteed, Balzer tweets.
Elflein, 29, was a third-round pick by the Vikings back in 2017 and ended up spending three-plus seasons in Minnesota, starting 43 of his 44 regular season appearances. He had a brief half-year stint with the Jets before catching on with the Panthers via a three-year contract. During his two years in Carolina, the veteran was limited to only 15 starts while dealing with hamstring and hip injuries.
The Panthers cut Elflein back in March, and he’ll now join a Cardinals group that features Hjalte Froholdt as the starting center and Lecitus Smith and rookie Jon Gaines II as backups. Elflein’s ability to play guard could ultimately afford him a backup role in Arizona, but it remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank. After finishing 37th among 39 qualifying centers on Pro Football Focus’ rankings in 2021, Elflein would have landed in the bottom-third of the position in 2022 had he earned enough snaps.
Swaim, 29, is an experienced addition to the tight ends room, having started 57 of his 86 games since entering the NFL in 2015. After playing as mostly a backup during his time with the Cowboys and Jaguars, Swaim emerged as a starter in Tennessee, starting 37 of his 43 appearances for the Titans over the past three years.
Following a 2021 campaign where he hauled in a career-high 31 receptions, Swaim was limited to only 12 catches for 58 yards in 2022. He’ll be joining a depth chart led by Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter), the tight end will be signing a one-year deal with the Cardinals.
On a more positive note, a day after the Bears placed Claypool on the PUP list, he has been removed from it. He’ll now be eligible to participate in training camp starting this Wednesday. Tomlinson returns to Houston after being released back in May. He’ll get another chance to work in the tight ends room that includes Dalton Schultz, Teagan Quitoriano, and Brevin Jordan.