Rodney Hudson

Cardinals Release C Rodney Hudson, WR Chosen Anderson

MARCH 16: Arizona will use the post-June 1 designation for the Hudson release. In a procedural move, the Cardinals also released J.J. Watt using this designation. They will pick up $3.05MM in cap space this summer as a result of the Hudson move. Watt announced his retirement shortly before the Cards’ season finale.

MARCH 6: The Cardinals are partaking in some cost-cutting measures for the sake of their salary cap and are expected to part ways with center Rodney Hudson and wide receiver Chosen Anderson, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The two are recent additions who were unable to contribute much of what was expected of them last season.

Hudson, we recently reported, is expected to retire this spring. He flirted with the idea in the last offseason before ultimately coming back to the team. Unfortunately, the decision didn’t amount to much for Arizona as Hudson was placed on IR and missed much of the season. Back in January, Hudson agreed to a restructured contract that dropped his 2023 base salary to $2.05MM, an amount that indicated both retirement and this eventual release. With a post-June 1 designation, cutting Hudson will result in $3.05MM in cap savings and $1.76MM in dead money, as opposed to $5.28MM in dead money pre-June 1.

Anderson’s release is a no brainer for the Cardinals. The contract they inherited for Anderson from the Panthers included a potential out in 2023, allowing them to release him with no dangers of dead money. Releasing Anderson will alleviate Arizona of his full $12MM cap hit. Anderson has fallen from the heights of his strong run from 2017-2020. In 10 games with the Cardinals after the trade, Anderson only recorded seven receptions for 76 yards, the worst ten-game stretch of his career.

It will be interesting to see what the market is for Anderson. In a relatively weak wide receiver free agent market, Anderson joins the likes of Robert Woods, DJ Chark, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Julio Jones in free agency. Woods and Smith-Schuster are perhaps the strongest of the group and should fetch decent contracts. Most other available receivers with NFL experience will likely be reliant on fit and scheme to find their homes.

Hudson’s future is still up in the air, as foregone as it may seem. Everything seems to indicate that he will hang up his cleats, but Hudson may spurn retirement again and return to play a 13th season. Rapoport indicates that Hudson will make a decision soon.

Regardless of his decision, Arizona has reportedly made theirs to move on from both Hudson and Anderson. They’ll likely be in the market to replace both players’ positions, but for now, the moves clear out at least Anderson’s $12MM and potentially a total of $15.05MM in cap space.

Cardinals Expect C Rodney Hudson To Retire

After center Rodney Hudson contemplated retirement during the last offseason and spent much of the past season on injured reserve, the Cardinals expect him to finally hang up his cleats this offseason, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. The 12-year veteran is set to turn 34 before the season begins, and as injuries continue to interfere with play, Hudson may be ready to put a bow on an impressive career.

A Chiefs’ second-round pick out of Florida State in 2011, Hudson played in every game for Kansas City as a rookie, earning one start. He earned the starting center job in his sophomore season, but a broken leg ended his season after only three games. After earning that starting job, though, Hudson was forevermore considered a surefire starter at the position.

In the final year of his rookie contract with the Chiefs, Hudson had the best year of his career, starting all 16 games for the first time and grading out as the fifth-best center in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Raiders rewarded the strong contract year with a five-year, $44.5MM contract in 2015. Hudson would reward Oakland in return with some of the best years of his career, including his first two Pro Bowl bids. The Raiders avoided allowing Hudson to play out the final year of his new contract, signing him to a three-year, $33.75MM extension that made him the highest paid center in the NFL in 2019. Hudson once again rewarded them with a Pro Bowl season and a second-team All-Pro selection.

As he was headed towards another contract year, and a sizeable cap hit, Las Vegas opted to trade Hudson, along with a seventh-round pick, to the Cardinals in exchange for a third-round pick, used to draft defensive end Malcolm Koonce. Hudson started 12 games for the Cardinals during his debut season in Arizona, finding the IR for a few games due to rib and shoulder injuries. After considering retirement, Hudson returned for a second year with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Hudson was placed on IR after dealing with knee trouble throughout training camp and the first four games of the season. He would miss the last 13 games of the season due to the injury issues.

Those four games now appear to be his last in the NFL as the Cardinals expect him to retire. For Arizona, this puts them squarely in the market for a new center. Billy Price, who started in place of Hudson, is set for free agency. Even if he weren’t, Price graded out as the second-worst center in the league this season, according to PFF. Guard Sean Harlow also has experience at center but is also set to hit free agency.

If All-Pro Eagles center Jason Kelce doesn’t join Hudson in retirement, he’ll be the top option in free agency this spring. Otherwise, Jets center Connor McGovern had a strong contract year and Jon Feliciano should be available, as well, after switching from guard to center for the Giants last year. If Arizona chooses to go the draft route, North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch, TCU’s Steve Avila, and Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz are considered the top prospects at the position, according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.

If this is the end of Hudson’s career, it’s one he can be proud of. With three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro selection, as well as some of the most prolific contracts for a center in NFL history, Hudson has plenty to hang his hat on after 12 years of play.

West Notes: 49ers, Hudson, Raiders, Broncos

The 49ers may go into the NFC championship game without Elijah Mitchell. The team’s Week 1 starter, who has become a key off-the-bench contributor behind Christian McCaffrey since the team acquired the high-priced back from the Panthers, is battling a groin injury and did not practice this week. Mitchell is listed as questionable to face the Eagles, but this is the latest in a long run of injuries for a second-year player. Mitchell went on IR twice because of separate MCL sprains this season and battled shoulder, knee and finger injuries as a rookie. Jordan Mason worked as McCaffrey’s primary backup during Mitchell’s second stint on IR, while the team also has rookie Tyrion Davis-Price and Tevin Coleman (practice squad) available. Coleman has logged 12 carries for 26 yards this season; Davis-Price has 34 for 99 as a rookie.

Here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Rodney Hudson made it through just four games in his second Cardinals season, spending much of it on IR. The 33-year-old center signed an extension — three years, $30MM — with the Cards upon being acquired via trade in 2021, but a recent restructure points him out of town. Hudson agreed to drop his 2023 base salary from $8.25MM to $2.05MM, Field Yates of tweets. This lends to the notion a new Cardinals regime will release Hudson, with OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald noting the $2.05MM figure doubles as the max amount a player can receive in 2023 via the CBA’s injury protection benefit (Twitter link). Hudson, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Raiders, considered retirement this past offseason and may be headed out the door in 2023. The Cards would be hit with $5MM-plus in dead money by cutting Hudson without a post-June 1 designation.
  • Shifting to the AFC West, the Raiders will spend the next several weeks being connected to quarterbacks. They are expected to trade or release Derek Carr before his $40.4MM guarantee vests Feb. 15, and Josh McDaniels reuniting with Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo is already coming up. Raiders GM Dave Ziegler was also impressed with Florida QB Anthony Richardson when he scouted him against Tennessee this past season, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock has Richardson going off the board at No. 9 — as the fourth QB selected — but the ex-Gator talent is fairly raw and will have more development to complete once in the pros. If the Raiders were to sign Brady, drafting a QB at No. 7 would obviously cut into their offseason resources to build around him. But Brady also would not solve the Silver and Black’s long-term need at the position.
  • Davante Adams was set to appear in court this week, in connection to the shoving incident at Arrowhead Stadium, but Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes the appearance will be delayed until June 26. Adams faces a suspension for the postgame shove of a photographer, a 20-year-old Missouri-Kansas City student, in October.
  • DeShawn Williams started a career-high 15 games for the Broncos this season, playing a career-most 597 defensive snaps. The 30-year-old defensive tackle, who is on track for free agency in March, said he wants to re-sign with the Broncos, via Denver7’s Troy Renck (Twitter link). Denver will prioritize a new deal with D-lineman Dre’Mont Jones, who sounded like he wanted to test the market, and has D.J. Jones signed through 2024. Williams, though, would not be especially expensive. Contributing regularly to a top-10 defense, Williams totaled 4.5 sacks this season.

Cardinals Place C Rodney Hudson On IR, Sign K Tristan Vizcaino

The Cardinals have placed center Rodney Hudson on injured reserve, per a team announcement. Hudson has dealt with knee trouble since training camp, and while he played in the first four games of the season, he has been sidelined ever since.

It is fair to wonder whether this is the end of the line for Hudson, who reportedly contemplated retirement this offseason. In 2021, his first season with the Cardinals, he was one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-rated centers after years of high-level performance. Since he became a full-time starter in 2013, his third professional season, he had not registered a PFF grade below 71.0, but that number fell to 60.9 last season.

2021 also saw the typically-durable blocker miss five games due to rib and shoulder injuries, and combined with this year’s knee ailment, his health is clearly an increasing concern. He is under contract through 2023, though the Cardinals’ interior O-line has been hit hard by injury this year, and the club could seek to remake that unit this offseason.

Arizona first turned to Sean Harlow to replace Hudson, and then to former Bengals first-rounder Billy Price. Price never lived up to his draft status in Cincinnati, which is why he was available for the Cards to pluck him off the Raiders’ taxi squad in early October. While it appears he will continue operating at the pivot in the near-term, his performance has not improved. His dismal 38.6 overall grade, underscored by four penalties and four sacks allowed, is the second-worst mark in the league among players with enough snaps to qualify.

In other Cardinals news, the team signed kicker Tristan Vizcaino to the active roster. Matt Prater, who has battled a hip injury this year, will miss Arizona’s Week 10 contest against the Rams. Vizcaino has made nine of his 10 career field goal tries, though he is just 12-for-17 on PATs.

Cardinals S Budda Baker, G Will Hernandez To Miss Time

As they attempt to pick up the pieces from a disappointing first half, the Cardinals must begin doing so without one of their best players. Budda Baker will be forced out of the lineup due to a high ankle sprain, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

The Cardinals are hoping the All-Pro safety can come back in two or three weeks. Arizona’s Week 13 bye could be a factor here. The Cardinals play the Rams, 49ers and Chargers ahead of that week.

Arizona will also be without starting guard Will Hernandez for the time being. While Hernandez does not have a definitive timetable, Kliff Kingsbury did not sound too optimistic about the offseason addition returning soon. Kingsbury said (via’s Darren Urban, on Twitter) he is hopeful this is not a season-ending pectoral injury. This will stall a solid bounce-back season from the former Giants starter.

This will be relatively new territory for Baker. The sixth-year defender has missed three games throughout his career. He has been one of the best draft picks of Steve Keim‘s GM tenure, making four Pro Bowls and becoming a two-time first-team All-Pro.

The Cardinals have both Baker and Jalen Thompson signed long term, with the former tied to a four-year, $59MM extension. This certainly stands to limit Arizona’s pass defense — one a subaverage cornerback situation already impacts. Dropping their sixth game of the season, the Cardinals exited Week 9 as the league’s 26th-ranked defense.

Signed to a low-cost deal this offseason, Hernandez became an instant starter opposite Justin Pugh. Despite a limited market, the four-year Giants starter has provided some stability up front for Arizona, which has seen injuries decimate its interior offensive front. Pugh is out for the season, while Max Garcia has missed the past two Arizona games. The eighth-year veteran could return in Week 10, per Kingsbury, and will be an option to replace Hernandez. Kingsbury said center Rodney Hudson is not expected to make his return in Week 10. Hudson, who contemplated retirement this offseason, has not played since Week 4. Billy Price is likely to start at center again against the Rams.

Cardinals Waive WR Andy Isabella, Sign C Billy Price Off Raiders’ Practice Squad

Months after shopping Andy Isabella in trades, the Cardinals are cutting bait. The team waived the former second-round pick Tuesday, doing so to make room on the roster for Billy Price.

The Cardinals are signing Price off the Raiders’ practice squad. The team hosted the veteran center as a free agent in May, when it was not known if Rodney Hudson would be back, but Price found his way to Las Vegas. He will move to the NFL’s other desert team this week.

Isabella never came too close to justifying the Cards’ draft investment. The former No. 62 overall pick has played in three Arizona games this season, catching two passes for 21 yards. Despite DeAndre Hopkins‘ suspension and the injuries to Rondale Moore and A.J. Green, the Cards did not turn to Isabella as a steady contributor. He will be available on the waiver wire.

A standout at Division I-FCS UMass, Isabella arrived in Arizona months after Kliff Kingsbury did. The 5-foot-9 slot receiver topped out at 224 yards and two touchdowns — on 21 receptions — in 2020. Isabella, who caught nine passes in 15 games as a rookie, was one of three receivers the Cards chose in that 2019 draft. The other two, fourth-rounder Hakeem Butler and sixth-rounder KeeSean Johnson, are out of the league. This came during a rich receiver draft, which saw D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson chosen after Isabella went off the board on Day 2. The Cards shopped Isabella before free agency and then during the draft but found no takers.

Arizona drafted the 5-7 Moore in the 2021 second round and used their 2022 first-round pick in the Marquise Brown trade. Greg Dortch, who also goes 5-7, became Moore’s primary replacement to start this season. It will be interesting if another team takes a flier on Isabella, whose rookie deal expires at season’s end.

The Bengals drafted Price in the 2018 first round but benched him in his second season. Cincinnati traded Price to the Giants for defensive tackle B.J. Hill last year. Price did not see any action for the Raiders. Hudson is battling a knee injury, though he has not missed any time yet, while Darren Urban of adds guard Justin Pugh is also dealing with an injury situation.

The Cards traded for guard Cody Ford before the season, but a subsequent injury led the ex-Bill to IR. Kingsbury said (via Urban) Ford will not return to practice when first eligible this week; the former second-round pick is at least a couple weeks away from his practice window opening. Price will soon move into position as an interior backup in Arizona, his fourth NFL team.

Rodney Hudson To Return To Cards In 2022

Following Rodney Hudson‘s minicamp absence, speculation ensued about the Cardinals’ future at center. But the former Pro Bowler is planning to return for a second season with the team.

Hudson plans to play in 2022, per Ian Rapoport of, who adds the veteran snapper is expected to report for Cardinals training camp next week (Twitter link). The Cardinals have essentially confirmed this (on Twitter). Given Hudson’s talent level, this should be a big boost for the Cardinals.

The team acquired Hudson from Las Vegas last year and extended him on a three-year deal worth $30MM. While Hudson — a three-time Pro Bowler with the Raiders — is one of seven centers attached to eight-figure-per-year contracts, he is the league’s seventh-highest-paid snapper. Money may or may not have led to the uncertainty surrounding Hudson’s 2022 status, but the Cardinals will have their most decorated offensive lineman back at work soon.

Hudson’s deal runs through 2023 and features a $10MM cap spike from 2021, when the 33-year-old blocker was on the Cards’ payroll at $2.86MM, to this year ($12.61MM cap figure). The Cardinals guaranteed Hudson $10.9MM at signing, though $16MM of this contract is guaranteed for injury. The former Chiefs third-round pick missed five games last season, joining Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins as vital Cards offensive cogs to miss extended stretches, but was back in uniform for the team’s final three games.

The Cards had Justin Pugh taking center reps during their offseason program, potentially as a contingency plan. Pugh has spent extensive time at both guard and tackle in the NFL, but center marked new territory for the ex-first-rounder. Hudson returning will keep Pugh at guard, bolstering Arizona’s front overall. The team also returns veteran tackles D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum.

Receiving Pro Bowl nods in 2016, ’17 and ’19, Hudson is now on his fourth NFL contract. The Raiders signed him away from the Chiefs in 2015 and extended him in 2019. Amid an O-line overhaul last year, the Raiders were set to make Hudson a cap casualty. But the Cardinals swooped in with a trade offer, agreeing to send a 2021 third-round pick for Hudson and a seventh-rounder. They extended him soon after.

Pro Football Focus rated Hudson near the bottom of its center performance list last season, slotting him 31st. But the 12th-year veteran still represents a key player for a Cardinals team that is working on a Murray extension. Another offseason crisis appears to be averted.

Latest On Cardinals Offensive Line

Rodney Hudson is a no-show in Arizona. The veteran center hasn’t attended Cardinals mandatory minicamp and doesn’t have an excused absence, coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters (via Darren Urban of the team’s website). The coach wouldn’t reveal why Hudson was staying away from the team, just noting that the two sides were “working through something.”

[RELATED: Center Billy Price To Visit Cardinals]

Hudson was acquired by the Cardinals last offseason, and he started each of his 12 games in 2021 while missing a handful of appearances thanks to rib and shoulder injuries. The 32-year-old still has two years remaining on the three-year, $30MM extension he signed Arizona following his trade from the Raiders. Of course, the offensive lineman’s absence may have nothing to do with money, and considering the Cardinals don’t really have a path to get out of his 2022 salary, it’d make more sense if the front office pursued a reworked deal next offseason. We’ll likely learn more about the situation if Hudson’s absence extends into the preseason.

With the Cardinals down a man, the organization has turned to veteran guard Justin Pugh to pick up the slack at center. Speaking to reporters, Pugh said switching positions could ultimately extend his career.

“I could see myself playing center,” Pugh said. “I’ve capped out money-wise at guard. Why not go out and see if I can play center? In this offseason, with Kyler (Murray), center is a very important position. There are a lot of centers that play older in their years, because physically it’s not as demanding. Mentally it’s much more intense, and that’s where I think I can succeed.

“We’ll try it out. We’ll see how it goes. If I don’t play real well, you’ll see me at left guard.”

Pugh also admitted that he considered hanging up his cleats following the 2021 campaign, and he made it clear that his frustration was due to the pay cut he accepted prior to the season. Ultimately, Pugh re-signed with the organization this offseason on a one-year, $5.5MM pact, and while he ultimately decided to let bygones be bygones, he still sounded a bit worked up about the money he had to sacrifice last year.

“All of a sudden, it’s ‘I’m going to cut your pay,’ and I don’t care what you do, someone cuts your pay by 33 percent, you’re not going to be happy,” Pugh said. “Then you factor in how much you love the game, how much you love being around the guys, how much you love to compete, and there is no dollar amount that can fill that gap.”

Other than Pugh, the Cardinals have limited options at center. As Urban writes, veteran Sean Harlow has some experience playing the position, but similar to Pugh, he’s more of an offensive guard. The team has also tried rookie guard Lecitus Smith at the position throughout minicamp. The team also brought in Billy Price on a free agent visit.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Chiefs, Dupree, Weddle

First-round draft pick Alex Leatherwood had an up-and-down rookie season in Las Vegas. After struggling a bit at right tackle, Leatherwood was moved to guard to fill in after injuries to starters Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders’ former staff intended to move Leatherwood back to his drafted position next season.

The decision is now out of their hands and in the hands of new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo. With Kolton Miller set at left tackle and Andre James filling in admirably this season with the loss of center Rodney Hudson in a trade to the Cardinals last year, the Raiders have three offensive line spots with which to play around. Bricillo’s placement of Leatherwood will likely depend on how they choose to address those open positions.

Here are a few more notes from around the AFC, starting with another note from the West:

Minor NFL Transactions:  12/16/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Placed on IR: LB Ronnie Perkins

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Wes Martin
  • Promoted: WR Pharoh Cooper

New York Jets

Washington Football Team