Rashard Lawrence

Cardinals Move G J.R. Sweezy To IR

Previously ruled out for the Cardinals’ Monday night game, J.R. Sweezy will miss a chunk of their season. The Cards placed the starting guard on IR. Both Sweezy and Arizona defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence landed on IR Saturday.

The former Seahawks starter suffered an elbow injury that will sideline him for at least three games. Lawrence is dealing with a calf malady. Sweezy rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 54 guard through five games this season.

Since missing the entire 2016 season and being a Buccaneers cut, Sweezy has been a dependable lineman. The Seahawks brought him back and used him as a starter throughout their 2018 playoff season, and Sweezy has started 21 straight games since signing with the Cardinals in 2019. The Cards have, however, dealt with extensive injuries up front in recent years. This marks a key setback for this year’s more successful squad.

Despite the Cards employing veteran Max Garcia, third-year blocker Justin Murray will replace Sweezy in Arizona’s starting lineup. Murray started 12 games at right tackle last season. Murray was already seeing time at guard in a rotation with Sweezy and Justin Pugh. He has played 19% of Arizona’s offensive snaps this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Round Out Draft Class Deals

In addition to signing first-round pick Isaiah Simmons, the Cardinals finished out their draft class’ rookie-contract agreements Wednesday.

Arizona agreed to terms with third-round tackle Josh Jones, fourth-round defensive linemen Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, sixth-round linebacker Evan Weaver and seventh-round running back Eno Benjamin. These are all four-year deals.

Jones profiles as the most interesting of these selections, having a path to being Arizona’s starting right tackle in the near future. The Houston blocker was considered a potential first-round talent or a player who would go off the board in Round 2.

Kliff Kingsbury admitted he was stunned to see Jones on the board in Round 3. The Cardinals re-signed Marcus Gilbert, but the longtime Steelers right tackle missed all of last season and much of the 2018 campaign due to injuries. Jones was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Cougars, but the Cards just re-signed longtime left tackle D.J. Humphries.

Benjamin, who played at Arizona State, joins a backfield that lost David Johnson this offseason. The Cards kept Kenyan Drake via the transition tag. Backup Chase Edmonds is signed through 2021, however. Both Fotu and Lawrence figure to compete for rotational spots on a Cards D-line that recently added 2019 Bills sack leader Jordan Phillips.

Here is the Cards’ 2020 draft class:

1-8: Isaiah Simmons, LB (Clemson)
3-72: Josh Jones, T (Houston)
4-114: Leki Fotu, DT (Utah)
4-131: Rashard Lawrence, DT (LSU)
6-202: Evan Weaver, LB (Cal)
7-222: Eno Benjamin, RB (Arizona State)