Defections beginning to pile up for the Arizona Cardinals

There are a significant number of players who have left the Arizona Cardinals to continue their NFL careers in other cities

Over the past week or so, the Arizona Cardinals made several noteworthy additions to their roster. Along with those acquisitions, however, comes the defections of quite a few players. For varying reasons, a significant number of individuals who were with the Cards this past fall will be performing for other clubs in 2020.

The biggest name to jump ship this offseason is running back David Johnson. Arizona’s former starter was part of a trade that brought superstar wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the desert. Johnson amassed 5,347 yards from scrimmage and 48 total touchdowns during his five years with the Cardinals.

Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter, a Cardinal for the last five campaigns, will also be moving on. The 28-year old was signed to a three-year contract by the Jacksonville Jaguars that could net him $18 million. Gunter totaled 126 tackles, 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in 77 appearances (38 starts) for Arizona.

Gunter isn’t the only Cards defender who’ll be taking his talents to Jacksonville. Defensive end Cassius Marsh inked a one-year deal with the Jaguars that will pay him $600,000 this coming season. The 27-year old journeyman tallied 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 16 games (three starts) for the Cardinals in 2019.

Arizona has one of the most crowded wide receiver rooms in the NFL, which left very little room for free agent Damiere Byrd. The 27-year elected to try his luck elsewhere, signing a one-year contract with the New England Patriots. In 11 contests (three starts) with Big Red in ’19, Byrd hauled in 32 passes for 359 yards and a touchdown.

Another pass-catcher, Pharoh Cooper, also left the Cardinals for an organization that needed him more. The 25-year old and the Carolina Panthers agreed on a one-year deal that’s worth $1.2 million. Cooper caught 25 balls for 243 yards and a score for the Cards last season, and handled kickoff and punt returns for the squad as well.

Cooper wasn’t the only free agent to leave Arizona for the Panthers. Zach Kerr was signed to a two-year contract by Carolina, after turning in a solid performance for the Cardinals last season. The defensive tackle registered 19 tackles in 12 contests (three starts) for the Redbirds last fall.

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One last former Card who left town is inside linebacker Joe Walker. The 27-year old started 11 matchups for the franchise in ’19, replacing an ineffective Haason Reddick. Walker, who agreed to a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, recorded 65 tackles last season for Arizona.

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