Cutting insignificant players can give Cardinals cap space

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Tanner Vallejo
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Tanner Vallejo /

The Arizona Cardinals can create room under the salary cap by cutting ties with players who barely contribute to the squad.

The next several months will be a crucial time for the front office of the Arizona Cardinals. A disastrous conclusion to the 2021 campaign has put extra pressure on the club’s hierarchy to right the ship.

To do that, Cards general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts must first find a way to create room under the NFL’s salary cap limit. The start of free agency is roughly a month away, and management will have to do some maneuvering to make the acquisitions that Arizona needs to make.

There are a handful of ways for the franchise to free up money, one of which is to hand out pink slips to a few players that the Cardinals can live without. Individuals from the bottom of the roster who have contributed very little during their time in the desert.

Arizona Cardinals could benefit by cutting ties with unimportant players

Back in 2019, the Redbirds acquired linebacker Tanner Vallejo off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. Since the acquisition, the 27-year-old’s main contributions have been with the team’s special teams unit. Vallejo’s work on defense has been mediocre at best, and the Cards would save a cool $1.6 million by sending the veteran packing.

Big things were expected out of Andy Isabella after Arizona selected the wide receiver during the 2019 draft. Three years have now passed, and the former second-round pick has hauled in just 31 passes in 36 appearances for the club. Moving on from Isabella this spring would net the Cardinals over $1.1 million in salary-cap savings.

After starting six games during his first two seasons with “Big Red”, safety Deionte Thompson‘s playing time diminished significantly last fall. The former fifth-round choice recorded a measly eight tackles for Vance Joseph’s defensive group in 2021, after totaling 45 stops during his first two years in the league. Releasing Thompson would give Keim and company an extra $965,000 to use on a more valuable individual.

Joshua Miles was a seventh-round selection of the Cards back in 2019, but offensive line coach Sean Kugler has had little use for the hulking left tackle. The Morgan State University product has logged a paltry 23 offensive snaps in his three pro seasons and has zero starts on his NFL resume. Cutting Miles would free up another $965,000 for the cap-strapped Redbirds in 2022.

Sending these four professionals on their way would supply Arizona with over $4.6 million of additional salary-cap space. Not many fans would lose sleep if Vallejo, Isabella, Thompson, and Miles were subtracted from the roster this offseason. Keim’s actions over the next few months will determine if he agrees with that assessment.

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