Several Arizona Cardinals veterans could be handed their walking papers before the 2023 NFL campaign kicks off in September.
Back in January, yet another disappointing NFL campaign came to an end for the Arizona Cardinals. The squad had posted a dismal 4-13 record, forcing owner Michael Bidwill to clean house. Cards general manager Steve Keim took what turned out to be a permanent leave of absence last December, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired less than a month later.
Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon were brought in to replace the pair, and the tearing down of an underperforming roster has begun. One-time Arizona starters like Byron Murphy, Zach Allen and Markus Golden are now playing for other clubs. A plethora of free-agent additions have been made, most of whom were plucked out of the bargain bin by Ossenfort and his cohorts.
By the end of the summer, several more of the previous regime's players could be following Murphy, Allen, and Golden out the door. The franchise's new hierarchy more than likely wants to start from scratch. The following are four veteran Cardinals who could be handed their pink slips before the regular-season gets underway in September.
Dennis Gardeck - Outside Linebacker
Back in 2020, the Cards believed they had found a hidden gem among their linebacking corps. Dennis Gardeck, a bona fide special teams ace, had suddenly found a role on the defensive side of the ball. The Redbirds were in desperate need of an edge-rusher after the great Chandler Jones was injured in Week 5, and Gardeck was handed a huge opportunity to shine.
Much to everyone's surprise, the 6 foot, 232 pounder proved to be quite adept at getting to the quarterback. Gardeck recorded seven sacks, despite the fact that he was on the field for just 10% of the defensive snaps. Since that success, however, the Illinois native has been credited with just one sack during his last 28 appearances (six starts) for the Arizona defense.
Though his effectiveness as an outside linebacker has disappeared, Gardeck is still one of the best wedge-busters in professional football. Even so, a $4.2 million salary-cap hit for an individual who contributes mainly on special teams may be a bit too steep. Taking all of that into consideration, there's a fairly good chance that the 28-year-old Gardeck could be playing elsewhere this coming fall.