An unspectacular three-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals has finally come to an end for the veteran outside linebacker.
The Arizona Cardinals created a feel-good type of story a couple of years ago when they acquired edge-rusher Devon Kennard. The veteran outside linebacker grew up in nearby Tempe, and his father Derek actually played for the Cardinals back in the late 1980’s.
Kennard’s time with the Cards appears to have finally come to an end following his release on Saturday. In five games (one start) this season, the 31-year old has contributed a measly three tackles, with zero sacks and just one quarterback hit. Not the kind of production that Arizona was expecting when they signed Kennard to a three-year, $20 million contract back in 2020.
It’s not as if the Cardinals didn’t give Kennard plenty of chances to succeed. His disappointing first campaign with the squad was obviously a sign of things to come. In 13 appearances (four starts) that year, Kennard was credited with 19 tackles and three sacks.
The numbers that Kennard registered for the Redbirds last season were equally unimpressive. In 15 contests (three starts), the 6 foot 3, 256 pounder tallied 24 tackles, and failed to record a single sack. Even more egregious was the fact that Kennard managed to contribute a mere two quarterback hits to the “Big Red” defense.
Writing was on the wall when Arizona Cardinals asked Kennard to take pay cut
Heading into 2022, Kennard was scheduled to collect a base salary of $6.75 million from the Cards. General manager Steve Keim believed, and rightfully so, that the former New York Giants draft pick was highly overpaid. Management’s revamped offer was for $1.12 million, a figure that was a healthy $5.63 million less than his original agreement with the club.
Even the restructured deal was squashed, however, when Arizona released Kennard at the end of August. A couple of days later, the former USC product was brought back by Keim and placed on the Cardinals practice squad.
It looked like a shrewd move by the Cards when Kennard was promoted to the organization’s primary roster before each one of the team’s five matchups thus far in ’22. Unfortunately, the defender failed to take advantage of those opportunities, and basically became a liability for the Arizona defense.
The doomed association with Kennard has finally reached it’s conclusion. Whether the linebacker can catch on with another NFL franchise is a question that will be answered at a later date. We at Raisingzona.com wish the classy Kennard nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)