It has long been expected Kyler Murray will miss time to start the season. The Cardinals have not kept a great secret regarding their rebuilding strategy, and even if the team’s new regime had assembled a team on the contender radar, rushing a dual-threat quarterback in a return from an ACL tear would not be a good idea. Murray addressed this matter recently, and ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss notes the two-time Pro Bowler was not sure he can make it back by Week 1. The fifth-year passer, who is aiming to return by the season’s outset, refused to put a timetable on his recovery.
The Cardinals placed Murray on the active/PUP list, which could be a precursor to his being stashed on the reserve/PUP list. The latter designation requires a four-game absence to start the year. Colt McCoy, who missed time this offseason due to an elbow ailment, sits as the presumptive Week 1 starter if Murray can’t go. McCoy will turn 37 just before the regular season. Though, the team also rosters David Blough and drafted Clayton Tune in Round 5.
Here is the latest from the NFC West:
- The player Murray advocated for in the first round, Paris Johnson, is working with Arizona’s first-string offensive line to start camp. During their offseason program, the Cardinals had not determined if the No. 6 overall pick would play guard or tackle. For now, the Ohio State product has lined up at tackle. Johnson began camp at right tackle, opposite D.J. Humphries, and has remained there into August, per GOPHNX.com’s Bo Brack and Weinfuss (Twitter links). The Cardinals re-signed Kelvin Beachum, their three-year right tackle starter, to a two-year, $5.15MM deal in March. With Will Hernandez and Elijah Wilkinson working as the team’s first-string guards, it will be interesting to see how the Cards proceed with Beachum and contract-year blocker Josh Jones, who replaced Humphries at left tackle after a midseason injury.
- Staying on the subject of O-lines, both Joseph Noteboom and Alaric Jackson are back in action after moving past their respective issues (Achilles tear, blood clots), per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required). The two have split time at left tackle in camp. Jackson is battling Joseph Noteboom for the Rams‘ left tackle job. While Noteboom was mentioned as a guard candidate — if he loses out on the blindside gig to Jackson — Rodrigue adds the loser of this battle is likely ticketed for a swing backup role. That would be quite the fall for Noteboom, who signed a three-year deal worth $40MM in 2022. Due to an offseason restructure, Noteboom is not a realistic cut candidate.
- Uchenna Nwosu‘s three-year, $45MM Seahawks extension will pay out $16.6MM in full guarantees, according to OverTheCap. The deal moved the edge rusher’s 2023 cap hit down, by about $3MM, to $10.1MM. In 2024, Nwosu’s cap hit will drop, checking in at $8.1MM. His 2025 number spikes to $21.5MM. Nwosu’s 2025 base salary checks in at $14.5MM, and ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson notes $6MM of that total is guaranteed for injury at signing (Twitter link). That $6MM shifts to a full guarantee by February 2024, giving Nwosu partial security a year out. An incentive-based escalator (based on Nwosu’s sack totals) is in place for 2026, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson adds, with Henderson noting it could increase the ’26 payout by $6MM (Twitter links)
- After four seasons in Kliff Kingsbury‘s Air Raid offshoot, the Cardinals look to be prepared to take advantage of their tight end depth under new OC Drew Petzing. The ex-Browns staffer is preparing to lean on two-tight end formations featuring both Zach Ertz and Trey McBride, Adam Caplan of ProFootballNetwork.com notes. Chosen in last year’s second round, McBride caught 29 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. The Colorado State product played 599 offensive snaps as a rookie, but much of that work came after Ertz’s midseason ACL tear. McCoy confirmed (via Weinfuss) the Cards should be expected to line up in 12 personnel more frequently than they did under Kingsbury.