The Arizona Cardinals are releasing one of their starting linebackers from the 2018 season.
Although Josh Bynes looked to be a building block for the Arizona Cardinals defense, the team will be moving on from him, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
This comes as a bit of a surprise to Cardinals fans, as Bynes was one of the few bright spots for the 2018 defense and was on a cheap contract. In 2018, he finished the year with 75 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, and five pass deflections in just 11 games started. Analytics firm Pro Football Focus gave him a 75.8 grade, good for 15th among qualifying middle linebackers, an above average score.
The release will free up a hair of $1.8M on the cap in 2019 and will bring their dead cap up by just $.66M, per Over The Cap.
The release can be seen as a result based off of the moves made at franchise tag deadline, as highly respected and accomplished inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will enter the open market. He would be an instant upgrade for the Cardinals linebacking core and is a natural fit as a mike linebacker in their new 3-4 front.
If the Cardinals do not intend to pursue Mosley, there are some interesting options on the free agent market that can fill the void, such as Kwon Alexander, Cory Littleton, Jordan Hicks, K.J. Wright, Brandon Marshall, and Denzel Perryman.
Or, the team will be just looking for a new start at the position. Either way, the Cardinals have a new spot to fill and will likely make it a priority come free agency and the draft.
The release also increases their cap space to a total of $39M, per Over The Cap, which is enough to target a few premier players.
The Cardinals pursuit and hopeful upgrade of the middle linebacker will be key to watch all off-season long.