Arizona Cardinals boost special teams by signing linebacker Josh Woods
By Jim Koch
The sixth-year veteran has been acquired by the Arizona Cardinals to help out on special teams and to provide depth at the linebacker position.
The Arizona Cardinals were praised back in January when they added Dave Sears to the club's front office. Newly-appointed general manager Monti Ossenfort needed an assistant, and the up and coming executive was certainly qualified to fill that role. On Thursday, the Cards made an acquisition that seemed to have Sears' name written all over it.
Josh Woods, a linebacker who spent the past two campaigns with the Detroit Lions, agreed to a one-year contract with the Redbirds. Sears, coincidentally, spent 16 seasons with the Lions organization. An obvious connection between the two exists, so it's extremely likely that Woods came to Arizona armed with a recommendation from the well-respected Sears.
The 6 foot 1, 230 pound Woods has experienced most of his success as an NFL player on special teams. That's good news for Jeff Rodgers, the coordinator of the Cardinals unit who also doubles as the assistant head coach to Jonathan Gannon. Ossenfort and Sears are obviously making the special-teams group a priority, with Woods, Ezekiel Turner and Matt Prater all inking deals within the past week.
Josh Woods could serve a dual-purpose for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023
Besides the value he can bring to the Cards' special teams crew, Woods will also add depth to the team's linebacking corps. Actually, it's the franchise's second addition to the position since the NFL's free-agent signing period got underway last week. Back on March 15th, Arizona lured Kyzir White away from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The arrival of Woods could also signal the end of another linebacker's five-year stint with "Big Red". Dennis Gardeck, a 28-year-old who came to the organization back in 2018, could end up playing elsewhere in 2023. The Cardinals could gain almost $2.9 million in additional salary-cap space by cutting ties with the overpaid Gardeck.
Woods arrived in the league back in '18 as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears. The former University of Maryland product remained in the "Windy City" until September of 2021, when Detroit plucked Woods off of the Bears practice squad. In 54 pro appearances (one start), the 26-year-old has been credited with 61 career tackles.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)