Zane Gonzalez

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cardinals Move Gonzalez, Phillips To IR

Mike Nugent looks set to continue as Arizona’s kicker for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals placed Zane Gonzalez on IR on Saturday and promoted Nugent from their practice squad.

The Cardinals gave Nugent a chance to kick in a 16th NFL season last week, calling on him to replace an injured Gonzalez. With Saturday’s transaction sidelining Gonzalez for the rest of the regular season, the 38-year-old Nugent will receive more opportunities to help the Cards into the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Gonzalez has struggled this season, having seen a game-tying field goal from inside 50 yards fall short against the Dolphins and having missed five other field goals (16-for-22) in his third Cardinals campaign. The former Browns kicker, down because of a back injury, will be eligible to return for Arizona’s playoff game — should the Cards qualify. Nugent made 4 of 4 field goals in the Cards’ win over the Giants last week.

Joining Gonzalez on IR for the next three weeks: Jordan Phillips. The pricey free agent acquisition will head to IR for the second time this season. Because this is Phillips’ second time on IR, his season is over.

Phillips has dealt with a balky hamstring this season. He returned from IR last week to play against the Giants, but a setback will sideline a key Cards defender for the team’s most critical stretch of games in years. The Cardinals now have D-linemen Phillips, Corey Peters and Josh Mauro on IR.

Arizona also activated tight end Darrell Daniels off IR and promoted running back D.J. Foster and linebacker Terrance Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Activate DL Jordan Phillips, Promote K Mike Nugent

The Cardinals announced a list of transactions this afternoon, including the activation of defensive lineman Jordan Phillips from injured reserve. The team also activated cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR, placed cornerback Johnathan Joseph on IR, released defensive lineman Trevon Coley, and promoted tight end Seth DeValve and kicker Mike Nugent from the practice squad.

Following a 9.5-sack campaign with the Bills in 2019, Phillips got a three-year deal from Arizona this offseason. While he started eight games for the Cardinals, his production took a dip, as he had only 10 tackles and a pair of sacks through the first two-plus months of the season. With his playing time already diminished, Phillips landed on injured reserve back in November with a hamstring injury.

Joseph, 36, was released by the Titans back in November. He quickly caught on with the Cardinals, and he’s collected three tackles and one pass defended through four games. The veteran hadn’t appeared in more than 20 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in any of his four games, and he was added to the injury report this week with a neck ailment. Peterson, 26, will be taking Joseph’s spot on the roster, with the Oklahoma State product having appeared in 22 games for the Cardinals over the past two seasons.

With starting kicker Zane Gonzalez ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Giants with a back injury, Arizona is turning to Nugent. The 38-year-old joined the Cardinals practice squad back in September, and with Gonzalez connecting on only 72.7 percent of his field goals this season, Nugent could be auditioning for the full-time gig. Nugent got into four games with the Patriots last season, connecting on five of his eight field goal attempts and 15 of his 16 extra point tries.

DeValve, a 2016 fourth-round pick, joined the Cardinals practice squad last month and was promoted to the active roster last week. In 54 career games (16 starts), DeValve’s hauled in 60 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns. Coley, 26, started 29 games for the Browns between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He’s appeared in 13 games since that time, compiling 20 tackles and one sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Whitworth, Garoppolo

Cardinals NT Corey Peters is out for the season due to a torn patellar tendon, and as he is in the final year of his contract with Arizona, it’s possible he has already played his last game with the team. But if he has it his way, that won’t be the case.

The 32-year-old said that he would love to spend the rest of his career with the Cardinals, as Mason Kern of SI.com writes, and assuming the price is right, it would make sense for GM Steve Keim to keep him. Peters was named Arizona’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award yesterday, and he has been a team captain for three years running. In addition to his stout defense against the run, he is a highly-respected spiritual and emotional leader, so look for the two sides to discuss a reunion this offseason.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says he feels much better after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month, though he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN.com). Fitz also says he lost nine pounds during his bout with the coronavirus, but he did come off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and as Darren Urban of the team’s official website tweets, the 37-year-old will suit up against the Giants this weekend.
  • After sinking 88.6% of his field goal tries in 2019, Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has converted just 72.7% of his attempts this year, prompting some to wonder if the team will seek another option. But Keim will keep rolling with Gonzalez, saying, “I know people question Zane but Zane has a lot of talent. … I think Zane will work through the tough times” (Twitter link via Urban). Gonzalez is playing out the season on his RFA tender, and this is not how he wanted to enter his first offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Rams suddenly find themselves atop the NFC West, and they could be getting their left tackle back soon. Andrew Whitworth has been on the shelf since the middle of November with a torn MCL and PCL, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the veteran OT, who turns 39 tomorrow, will test out the knee next week. Whitworth is apparently way ahead of schedule and could return by the end of the regular season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo‘s future with the 49ers is in some doubt, even though HC Kyle Shanahan recently said he expects the dashing signal-caller to be the team’s starter in 2021. That may well be the case, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes San Francisco will select a QB in next year’s draft, perhaps as high as the second round. There could be a few intriguing prospects available at that point that Shanahan may be able to turn into a viable starter at the professional level. Players like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Alabama’s Mac Jones could both be options.
  • It has now been over a year since Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny last suited up for a game, but as John Boyle of the team’s official website notes, Penny returned to practice this week. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’s excited about what he has seen from Penny in practice (Twitter link via 710 ESPN Seattle), and the ‘Hawks could certainly use a boost to an RB corps that has dealt with a number of injuries this season. Per Boyle, CB Quinton Dunbar, who has been on IR for a few weeks with a knee injury, has also returned to practice.
  • The Seahawks signed QB Alex McGough to their practice squad yesterday, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the team has put its other PS signal-caller, Danny Etling, in a bubble. The Broncos, of course, recently had to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at QB because the rest of their quarterbacks were deemed high-risk close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive. The Seahawks are keeping Etling in a bubble to guard against just such a situation.

Cardinals Add K Mike Nugent To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez might be hearing footsteps. Or, perhaps, he just has some backup. On Friday, the Cardinals signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent to the practice squad, per a club announcement.

Nugent first made his Cardinals debut over a decade ago in 2009, appearing in a pair of games. Now 38, he owns a career 81% field goal completion rate across 168 games. Last year, he had a cup of coffee with the Patriots as a part of their revolving door of kickers. The veteran converted five of eight FGs with the Pats, who released him after a pair of missed field goals against the Browns. The Patriots won that October contest to advance to 8-0, but Bill Belichick wasn’t taking any chances.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, missed two of his three field goal tries in the season opener. Still, the one he converted on was from 56 yards out, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s “very comfortable” with the 25-year-old.

After topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals will look to go 2-0 this Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

Cardinals’ Zane Gonzalez Signs RFA Tender

Zane Gonzalez is back in the fold for the Cardinals. The fourth-year kicker signed his second-round tender Thursday.

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets passed last week, effectively tying Gonzalez to the Cardinals. He is set to earn $3.26MM on the tender, which marks a significant raise from his $645K 2019 salary.

After Gonzalez’s rough September 2018 day in New Orleans led to the Browns cutting him, he stabilized his career with the Cards. Becoming their kicker during the 2018 season, Gonzalez kicked in all 16 games for Kliff Kingsbury‘s team last season. He bounced back from an abbreviated 2018 campaign, making 31 of 35 field goals and 34 of 35 PATs.

Barring an extension, the Arizona State alum will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Place Second-Round Tender On K Zane Gonzalez

The Cardinals are placing a second-round tender on kicker Zane Gonzalez, per SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter).

After appearing in five games for Arizona during the 2018 season, Gonzalez got into all 16 games during the 2019 campaign. He ended up having the best season of his professional career, connecting on 88.6-percent of his field goal tries and 97.1-percent of his extra point attempts.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State spent the first year-plus of his career with the Browns.

Cardinals Cut Andre Smith, Bene Benwikere

The Cardinals made a host of moves Monday afternoon. Another of Patrick Peterson‘s top sidekicks is now out of the picture, with Arizona making the decision to waive cornerback Bene Benwikere.

Additionally, the Cards are cutting veteran tackle Andre Smith. They also placed Phil Dawson and linebacker Josh Bynes on IR and are elevating kicker Zane Gonzalez from the practice squad. The team announced the moves.

Smith’s inconsistency will end his Arizona tenure, per Steve Wilks (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, on Twitter). He started eight games at right tackle for the Cardinals, including Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chargers, but has not played to the level he displayed during his earlier Bengals days. The 31-year-old edge blocker will head to the waiver wire, joining the less experienced Benwikere.

The Cards already parted ways with Jamar Taylor, acquired in hopes he could fill the Peterson-sidekick role the team has long had issues with, after Benwikere beat him out for that job. The young journeyman started eight Arizona games this season, intercepting one pass and making 51 tackles. Benwikere’s eight starts represent a career high in his five-season NFL run.

Dawson’s been dealing with a hip injury this season. It forced the 43-year-old kicker to miss a game earlier this month. The Cardinals’ kicker over the past two seasons, the 20-year veteran is a free agent after this season. He’s attempted a career-low eight field goals, making five. This will end Dawson’s least accurate season.

Previously going with rookie Matthew McCrane to fill in for Dawson, the Cardinals will now turn to Gonzalez. The Browns waived Gonzalez after a rough Week 2. The 2017 seventh-round pick has not kicked in a game since.

Despite being retained on a low-level deal, Bynes was playing ahead of both Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick this season. He made 75 tackles, registered two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a standout season. Bynes is signed through the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign Zane Gonzalez To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez has found a new gig. The Cardinals announced that they’ve signed the free agent kicker to their practice squad.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State hasn’t had the strongest start to his career. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie with the Browns, connecting on 15 of his 20 field goal attempts and 25 of his 26 extra point tries. The 23-year-old struggled in his two games this season, and the Browns released him following a dreadful Week 2 where he missed a pair of field goals and two extra points.

Later reports indicated that the kicker was dealing with a slightly torn groin, and Gonzalez ended up earning a $35K injury settlement from Cleveland. The injury had a recovery timeline of three weeks, so Gonzalez is presumably good to go.

Of course, he’ll have a tough time cracking the Cardinals roster. With Phil Dawson expected to return from injury this week, the team moved on from Matt McCrane yesterday. The 43-year-old Dawson hasn’t done anything to lose his job this season, but Arizona could be eyeing Gonzalez for 2019 should the veteran decided to hang up his cleats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/24/18

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • T Andrew Lauderdale

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans