Cardinals LB Deone Bucannon recently had surgery to repair the ankle injury that landed him on IR in December. Bucannon played through the issue for much of the year, according to the team website, before missing the final 3 games. He hoped to be able to rehab the injury without surgery but finally had to go under the knife. “We think, if everything goes perfect, he’ll be ready,” HC Bruce Arians said, referring to the start of the regular season. “But there’s always that chance that it won’t.” We'll see this summer how perfectly everything works out. In the meantime, rookie Haason Reddick is expected to work in Bucannon's spot.
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer says he'll be throwing a lot less in offseason workouts this year. "Coach is very persuasive," Palmer told The Associated Press, calling it HC Bruce Arians' idea. "He had very good reasons and points why. I'm going to trust his expertise and knowledge of this position because it's as good as it gets." Palmer conceded that he hadn't managed his offseason throwing well for the past "eight or nine years," failing to adjust as he gets older. On one hand, it's a little worrisome Arians finds this change necessary in his fifth year at the helm. On the other, anything that enhances Palmer's hopes of rebounding from last year is a plus. We'll see what reports of his arm strength say come summer. The veteran figures to settle well into QB2 range in redraft ADP anyway.
The Cardinals have reached a 1-year deal with QB Blaine Gabbert. That should set up a competition with Drew Stanton to back up Carson Palmer, who turned 37 in December. There's not much fantasy intrigue to either backup, but Gabbert would at least bring more rushing upside than Stanton, should Palmer go down.
Cardinals WR John Brown had a cyst removed from his spine shortly after last season ended. This was unrelated to the sickle-cell issue we already knew about. But Brown says he was "back to normal" after having the cyst removed. “I most definitely feel confident,” Brown said of his status for 2017. “Since they found out the situation, my body has been feeling better. I am doing the usual, which I couldn’t do when I was going through this process." We'll be keeping a close eye on Brown's health throughout the summer. If the ailments are truly behind him, he has a shot to re-emerge as the 1,000-yard receiver we saw in 2015.
The Cardinals have signed undrafted WR Krishawn Hogan as a free agent. Hogan finished high school at just 5'9 and 175 pounds. But he posted big numbers at NAIA Marian College and blossomed physically. Hogan ran a 4.56-second 40 at the Scouting Combine that's below average for the position. But throw in a 6.74-second 3-cone drill and 10'4 broad jump, and you get a 79th percentile SPARQ score. We can't expect Hogan to quickly make the jump from low-level college football to the NFL, but the Cardinals have plenty at WR to give him time to wait. Hogan's an interesting flier for a late spot in your dynasty rookie draft.
The Cardinals used a 5th-round pick to add North Carolina RB T.J. Logan. The fastest RB at the Combine (4.37-second 40 time) projects as a change-of-pace option at the next level. He never topped 120 carries in any of his 4 seasons at Chapel Hill and goes just 5'9, 196 pounds. Logan did turn in 26- and 29-catch campaigns, though, and looks like a natural receiver on tape. He also tallied 5 kick-return TDs in college. Logan could quickly ascend to the #2 spot on Arizona's depth chart but won't see enough work to be a fantasy factor behind workhorse David Johnson.
The Cardinals selected Grambling WR Chad Williams in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. To be perfectly honest, this guy was not on our pre-draft radar. Here’s what we just learned about him: Williams goes 6’1, 207 pounds and ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. (He wasn’t invited to the Combine.) He went over 1,000 yards in each of his final 2 seasons, highlighted by a big 90-1,337-11 line this past year. Williams also has off-field issues, though, getting arrested last May for firearm and marijuana possession. He could learn a lot from Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona and could eventually replace the future Hall-of-Famer.
The Cardinals drafted Temple LB Haason Reddick 13th overall in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. Reddick played DE almost exclusively in college but figures to play a standup rush role as a 3-4 OLB in Arizona. He'll likely cut well into OLB Markus Golden's playing time right away, but Golden -- along with re-signed OLB Chandler Jones -- will limit Reddick's early playing-time ceiling. Keep that in mind for his IDP outlook over the next couple of years. (Golden is signed through 2018.)
We passed along word from insider Kent Somers earlier this offseason that the Cardinals planned to move Andre Ellington to WR. HC Bruce Arians made it official on Wednesday, saying that Ellington will work with the WRs this offseason. The 5'9, 199-pounder has struggled to hold up as a runner. But he's a plus pass-catcher who's hauled in 112 balls for 999 yards (8.9 YPC) over 4 seasons. There's opportunity in what was once a deep Cardinals WR corps. Larry Fitzgerald turns 34 in August, John Brown has struggled to stay healthy and Michael Floyd is gone. Ellington still seems unlikely to carve out a big enough role to be a reliable fantasy option, but his transition will be worth monitoring.
The Cardinals plan to run Andre Ellington primarily at WR in 2017, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Altering Ellington's role certainly makes sense. He has struggled to hold up physically in the backfield, and David Johnson emerged as 1 of the NFL's best RBs -- and an all-situations player -- last season. Ellington showed his playmaking chops most prominently while splitting the backfield with Rashard Mendenhall in his rookie campaign. Getting his skills on the field should help the offense. Somers reports that Ellington will still see some RB work. The question, of course, will be whether he can find enough touches to gain fantasy relevance. We're not betting on it. More likely, Ellington will flash with a few nice fantasy lines driven by big plays but be too inconsistent to be worth owning. We'd bet on Arizona also adding backfield depth. RB Chris Johnson's a free agent.
Cardinals RB David Johnson (knee) declared himself back to 100% while participating in a charity flag football tournament over the weekend. “My wheel is good,” he said, referring to the knee he injured in the 2016 season finale. “Good to go already. Back training, full throttle. Doing everything.” Johnson avoided surgery on the sprained MCL and will be available for the offseason program. He's in the mix to be the 1st player off the board in 2017 fantasy drafts.
The Cardinals have signed K Phil Dawson. He'll replace K Chandler Catanzaro, a restricted free agent who was not re-signed. Dawson turned 42 in January but has remained effective, drilling 85+% of his FGs in 4 of the past 5 seasons. He'll be a viable 2017 fantasy option.
The Cardinals have reached a deal with veteran S Antoine Bethea, shortly after the 49ers released him. Arizona appears likely to lose starting S Tony Jefferson, who has been rumored to be choosing between offers from the Browns and Ravens. Bethea could step into Jefferson's spot and would carry solid IDP value if he plays full time.
The Cardinals have re-signed TE Jermaine Gresham to a 4-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The TE has never been a big part of HC Bruce Arians' offense, and that won't change going forward. Gresham has posted lines of 18-223-1 and 37-391-2 in Arizona the past 2 seasons. Expect similar output in 2017.
The Cardinals believe they've found a solution for the sickle-cell problem that hampered WR John Brown throughout the 2016 campaign. “He is very healthy, looks like they found the issue,” owner Michael Bidwill said. “We’ll get Smoke back the way we had him.” Brown missed just 1 game this past season but was limited to less than 60% of the snaps in 12 of the other 15. (He topped 60% in 14 of 15 games in 2015.) The end result was a disappointing 39-517-2 line. Brown is just a year removed from a 65-1,003-7 line and 25th-place PPR finish, though. With Michael Floyd gone, a healthy Brown would be the favorite to operate as Arizona's #2 WR in 2017. There's big bounce-back potential here.
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer announced that he'll return for another season in 2017. The 37-year-old had a disappointing 2016 campaign, finishing 16th among QBs in fantasy points. His 61.0% completion rate and 7.1 yards per attempt were both his worst marks in 4 years in Arizona. Palmer wasn't helped, though, by WR Michael Floyd's disappearance and WR John Brown's health issues. And he still tossed multiple TDs in 6 of his final 7 games. Palmer shouldn't be drafted as a QB1 in 2017, but he's capable of at least being a fantasy spot starter.
Cardinals RB David Johnson led his position in catches (80) and receiving yards (879) in 2016. But he believes he can be even better in the passing game going forward. “The biggest thing is my route running,” Johnson said. “I remember all the routes I messed up on and I probably would have had 1,000 yards this year. That’s where I want to get, 1,000 yards receiving and rushing. So I feel like the biggest thing I want to work on is those routes.” Only 2 RBs in NFL history -- Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk -- have reached 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Johnson is capable of becoming the 3rd, though, based on his skill set, role in the offense and the pass-heavier era in which he's playing. He's the early favorite to be the 1st player off the board in 2017 fantasy drafts.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald told Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter that he's "definitely" returning for the 2017 season. He'd been contemplating retirement but will return for a 14th NFL season. Fitz turns 34 in August and has certainly slowed down, posting the 2 lowest yards-per-catch marks (11.1 and 9.6) of his career over the past 2 years. But he's remained effective in his revamped possession-receiver role, tallying the 2 biggest catch totals (109 and 107) and going over 1,000 yards in both seasons. Fitzgerald finished 9th among WRs in PPR points in 2016 and 17th in non-PPR. His 2017 fantasy outlook will depend heavily on whether QB Carson Palmer returns. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport believes Fitzgerald deciding to play another season is a "good sign" that Palmer will do the same.
Cardinals RB David Johnson has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and will not need surgery, HC Bruce Arians said. Johnson is expected to need 6-8 weeks of rehab. So he should be ready for the start of the offseason program and will definitely be ready for training camp, barring setbacks. Johnson finished the 2016 season with a massive 2,118 total yards and 20 TDs. His 411.8 PPR points were the 9th most by a RB in NFL history.
"Initial tests" on Cardinals RB David Johnson's knee revealed meniscus damage, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's believed that Johnson's ACL is intact. He'll undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm. If those results hold, it'll be extremely good news. We'll continue to keep you updated on fantasy football's top RB.
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