The Arizona Cardinals have seen numerous injuries on their defensive line this season, necessitating a patchwork group of players to take charge. This week, they saw Dante Stills finding a one-way ticket to injured reserve, ending the rookie’s promising season with one game to go.
Because of Stills going to IR and the uncertainty surrounding Leki Fotu, logistically speaking, general manager Monti Ossenfort wouldn’t be handing anyone on the defensive line their walking papers anytime soon. But that wasn’t the case, as the Cardinals surprisingly cut ties with Kevin Strong, someone who had been enjoying a solid campaign to this point.
While Strong was by no means a long-term answer on the defensive line as a starter, he showed enough to become a solid role player on the Redbirds. This season, he started 11 games and made 14 appearances, recording 46 tackles, five stops behind the line, three quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
What made the Arizona Cardinals release Kevin Strong?
There is no clear-cut reason for why the Cardinals released strong, except perhaps to give a couple of players a chance to play in a full contest - and this is a wild guess. It would, however, allow the coaches to get a look at the likes of Phil Hoskins and Naquan Jones, while also giving Roy Lopez a majority of snaps.
The move makes sense to a degree, as Strong wouldn’t have been anything more than a role player for this Cardinals team long-term. He will also turn 28 in 2024 and entering his sixth season, and he’s therefore already established his ceiling.
But you can’t say the same about Lopez, Hoskins, and Jones, who have all been in this league since 2021. Therefore, barring any more roster moves, expect this young trio to receive the bulk of playing time along the defensive front. If they mesh well together, the Arizona Cardinals should have a spot on their 90-man roster heading into camp next season for all three of them.
Source: Cardinals Move Dante Stills, D.J. Humphries To Injured Reserve by Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)