With the Tuesday deadline to cut their roster from 90 players down to 75 looming, the Arizona Cardinals announced Monday the team has released 11 players, placed cornerback Mike Jenkins on injured reserve, and waived quarterback Jacob Coker.
The 13 transactions the Cardinals made Monday helped the team cut its roster from 90 to 77 players, and Arizona has until 1 p.m. on Tuesday to make two additional roster moves prior to the NFL's league-wide deadline.
The 11 players Arizona released were offensive guard Jake Bernstein, wide receiver Amir Carlisle, tight end Gerald Christian, offensive tackle Clay DeBord, long snapper Daniel Dillon, defensive tackle Iosia Iosia, cornerback Asa Jackson, wide receiver Franky Okafor, cornerback Shaun Prater, punter Garrett Swanson and safety Tyrequek Zimmerman.
On Monday morning, CardinalsSource released our roster cut projections, and correctly predicted nine of the 11 players released. Jenkins reportedly suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's contest against the Texans, and his injury allowed the Cardinals to keep an additional player on the roster who may have been cut if Jenkins was healthy because he was squarely in the competition for a roster spot at cornerback.
The decision to waive Coker likely stems from a knee injury Coker suffered last week that will prevent the former Alabama quarterback from being able to play in Thursday's preseason finale. By waiving Coker ahead of Tuesday's deadline to cut their roster to 75 players, the Cardinals can keep another player who likely would have been cut as a depth option for their game.
None of the transactions the Cardinals made Monday were much of a surprise, as Jackson was likely the highest-profile player Arizona released. By releasing veterans like Jackson and Prater ahead of Tuesday's deadline, the Cardinals allow two players without practice squad eligibility to search for a new franchise that may need help in the defensive backfield.
Though the Cardinals kept undrafted rookie cornerbacks Trevon Hartfield and Ronald Zamort, the team likely chose to do so to receive an extended look at the players during the second half of Thursday night's contest against the Denver Broncos and determine if either player is worthy of consideration for the team's practice squad.
The other mild surprise from Monday's transactions was the release of Christian ahead of undrafted rookie tight end Hakeem Valles. Christian still has practice squad eligibility and was the Cardinals' seventh round selection in the 2015 draft, but the team may consider Valles as an option with better upside.
To remain eligible for an NFL practice squad, a player must have no more than one accrued NFL season (eight or more games on the active roster). NFL teams are permitted to sign a maximum of two players to a practice squad that have no more than two accrued seasons.