When final cutdown day arrived general manager Steve Keim and company had tough decisions to make for the Arizona Cardinals
There was a time when whittling down to 53 players was not a problem for the Arizona Cardinals. There were many offseasons when the team just didn’t have enough talented players. Those days are over my friends.
The present day Cardinals, led by general manager Steve Keim, have built a tremendous roster. Their dilemma these days is knowing who to cut and who to keep. For a club with Super Bowl aspirations that kind of problem is not necessarily a bad thing.
Just last year the front office was trying to figure out how to bring a good running game to the desert. No need to worry about that anymore.
The depth at the position forced Keim to let go of not one but two young, talented runners. Elijhaa Penny capped off a solid summer with a 113-yard rushing performance in the final preseason game. The team lucked out, Penny cleared waivers and was signed to Arizona’s practice squad.
The other back, Kerwyn Williams, proved himself the last couple seasons in regular season games. Not only that but he once again performed well this preseason. For a team looking for a runner, the youth and skills Williams possesses could certainly be a help.
Wide receivers Brittan Golden and Jaxon Shipley both had a very good offseason, seemingly competing for the sixth receiver spot. The competition appeared to bring out the best in both players. Nevertheless, both were released, although Golden did make it back to the practice squad.
Defensive lineman Red Bryant proved a capable run stuffer during the Cards’ run last season. He appears to be a victim of a numbers game in the desert, even though they retained nine lineman. Bryant has won in the league and could provide quality leadership for a contending team.
Offensive lineman Antoine McClain and Rob Crisp were both considered up and comers in the organization in the recent past. But both were released, replaced by draft pick Cole Toner and undrafted free agent John Wetzel. Both McClain and Crisp are talented enough to catch on someplace else.
Safety Matthias Farley was a tackling machine in the preseason. He also appears to be a victim of a numbers game, as safety is one of Arizona’s deepest positions. Any thought of bringing him back to the practice squad was squashed when he was plucked off of waivers.
There seems to be a lot of debate on whether quarterback Matt Barkley was worth retaining. After a dreadful start to the preseason, he finished strong. Any chance of stashing him on the practice squad was taken away when, like Farley, he failed to clear waivers.
Without a doubt, the last few days have been anything but easy for Keim and his staff. Arizona has become one of the best-run organizations in the NFL, with a roster stacked with talent.