Arizona Cardinals get it right by cutting Rashard Lawrence

Cutdown day has arrived, and the Arizona Cardinals made the correct move in getting rid of Rashard Lawrence, who did little in his three seasons with the club.
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence (90)
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence (90) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rashard Lawrence wasn’t having such a bad year for the Arizona Cardinals last season, but per the usual, injuries struck. He logged five starts in 2022 and his highlights included a forced fumble, three tackles behind the line, and 11 tackles total. 

No, these numbers were by no means outstanding, but they implied Lawrence could play well with the starting unit at defensive tackle. Following yet another injury, however, Lawrence never saw a regular season game in a Cardinals uniform again as the team released him earlier today in the cutdown to 53 players.

Arizona Cardinals better off without Rashard Lawrence

While the Cardinals kept Leki Fotu, who sat atop the depth chart throughout preseason, neither he nor Lawrence showed much across their three seasons with the club, despite Lawrence’s productivity when healthy last year. So why did it make sense to keep Fotu but get rid of Lawrence?

This one comes down to Lawrence’s inability to stay healthy across his three seasons in the league. Since 2020, he could have appeared in 50 regular season games, but he only suited up for 25 of those contests and started a paltry 13 of them.

Fotu started just 12 contests, but he also proved to be far more durable, having appeared in 45 of those 50 possible games. Further, nine of his 12 starts came last season, and he found opposing ball-carriers 31 times after logging just 30 stops in his previous two seasons combined. 

Sure, only 13 of those 31 stops were solo tackles, and many of them occurred a few yards downfield as opposed to in the backfield - three tackles for loss over the previous two seasons. But at this point, Fotu has durability that Lawrence never had, and he therefore deserves one final chance to be with the Arizona Cardinals long-term. 

Ideally, Fotu gives the Redbirds a solid season at nose tackle and lands a respectable extension. If not, then general manager Monti Ossenfort will be looking to fill the spot next April with one of his many draft picks.


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)