ESPN's Josh Weinfuss believes Cardinals RBs Chase Edmonds and James Conner will "split the primary reps to start, with whoever has the hot hand getting the ball." Fantasy drafters are clearly expecting Edmonds to lead this backfield, taking him about 3 rounds ahead of Conner. We'll see if we get more clarity on the situation over the next month, but Conner is probably the better shot at ADP right now.
The Cardinals placed DE J.J. Watt on the PUP list Wednesday after the veteran experienced hamstring soreness following Tuesday's conditioning test. According to ESPN's Josh Weinfuss, Watt said he doesn't expect to practice Thursday and isn't sure when he'll return to the field. "We're gonna take it very slow and be very smart about it," Watt said. We'll keep an eye on the situation, but there's no reason for panic at this point.
The Cardinals have announced that 1st-round LB Zaven Collins will start at the "Mike" position, which belonged to Jordan Hicks last season. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the team has given Hicks permission to pursue trade possibilities -- but also renegotiated his contract to a lower salary. So it's possible Hicks remains. Collins' mix of size (259 pounds) a 70th-percentile speed score and production both coming forward and in coverage give him huge immediate IDP upside.
The Cardinals added Purdue WR Rondale Moore with the 49th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Moore turned in 1 of the most impressive freshman seasons you’ll ever see back in 2018, racking up 114 catches for 1,258 yards and 12 TDs. He added 21 carries for 213 yards (10.1 YPC) and 2 TDs while also serving as Purdue’s primary return man. He set a Purdue record with 2,215 all-purpose yards and was named a consensus All-American. Unfortunately, multiple hamstring injuries limited Moore to just 7 games over the past 2 seasons (although he remained uber productive, averaging 9.1 catches and 94 yards per game). Size is also a concern for this 5’7, 180-pounder. There’s only been one 1,000-yard season by a WR 5’7 or shorter in NFL history. Moore has the goods to buck that trend, though. He blazed a 4.29-second 40-yard dash and posted a ridiculous 42.5-inch vertical at his Pro Day to earn a 93rd percentile Relative Athletic Score. The tape shows incredible burst, quickness and change-of-direction to create separation on routes and make plays after the catch. Moore also has RB-like vision on end arounds and jets sweeps. He joins DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green in the Cardinals WR corps. Kirk and Green are both set to hit free agency next offseason. Moore’s arrival is probably the nail in Andy Isabella’s coffin in Arizona.
The Cardinals selected Tulsa LB Zaven Collins with the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Collins is enormous, at 6’5, 259, but his 4.71-second 40 time gives him a 70th-percentile speed score among LBs. Collins made plays regularly in the backfield, logging 25 tackles for loss over his 32 games. He added 8 career passes defensed, with 4 INTs in 2020 alone (8 games). Collins could immediately challenge the roles of either 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Simmons or EDGE Devon Kennard. Simmons never settled into a regular role as a rookie and could remain a moving piece. We'll see what Arizona reveals about its plan.
The Cardinals are signing RB James Conner, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Conner popped for a big year back in 2018, rushing for 973 yards and 12 scores on 4.5 yards per carry and adding a 55-497-1 receiving line. He hasn't looked like the same guy the past 2 seasons, though, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per catch. Conner ranked 33rd in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades among 47 RBs with 100+ carries last year. He turns just 26 next month but has dealt with a bunch of injuries, missing 12 games over the last 3 years. Conner and Chase Edmonds figure to battle for snaps this summer. We'll see if the Cardinals add anything else to the backfield in the draft.
RB James Conner had surgery to repair a "very moderate turf toe-type injury" this offseason, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The injury reportedly happened when Conner was riding in a "recreational vehicle." He's expected to be back to 100% by June, per Rapoport. Conner is still toiling on the free-agent market but is visiting the Cardinals today.
Former Lions K Matt Prater is joining the Cardinals on a 2-year deal. It’s an upside landing spot for the reliable fantasy kicker. Arizona ranked 6th in yards and 13th in scoring last year, the 2nd season for HC Kliff Kingsbury
The Cardinals signed WR A.J. Green. No word yet on the terms, but it's likely a cheap, 1-year deal. After playing in just 9 games across 2018 and 2019, Green played all 16 last season -- but set career lows with an ugly 45.2% catch rate and 11.1 yards per catch. He ranked 79th in yards per route run and 66th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 84 WRs with 50+ targets. Green turns 33 in July and might just be out of gas. He figures to be no better than 3rd in line for targets in Arizona behind WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. We'll see if WR Andy Isabella is ready to take on a bigger role in 2021.
Update: It's a 1-year deal worth "up to" $8.5 million with $6 million guaranteed, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
The Cardinals have agreed to a 2-year, $9 million deal with EDGE Markus Golden, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Golden originally broke through with 12.5 sacks for the Cardinals back in 2016 and then made his way back to Arizona last season after a year and a half with the Giants. He supplied 14 QB hits across 9 contests with the 2020 Cardinals and should be a favorite to land at least a top-3 spot in the 2021 edge rotation.
DE J.J. Watt is signing with the Cardinals, he reports. Multiple other reports say it's a 2-year deal worth $31 million, with $23 million of that guaranteed. (So it sounds like a pact he's likely to complete.) Watt will join an Arizona defense that jumped from 20th in Football Outsiders DVOA in 2019 to 10th last season. The Cardinals also tied for 10th among fantasy defenses, by ESPN scoring. Watt looked past his prime last season but should still upgrade an unspectacular D-line and enhance a Chandler Jones-led pass rush.
The Texans are releasing DE J.J. Watt, according to multiple reports. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Watt asked the team to release him, marking yet another star player looking to get out of Houston. Watt has clearly slipped from the dominant form of his early seasons, but he remains a productive player and should find plenty of potential suitors. We'll see where the veteran lands -- and the size of his next contract -- before projecting his IDP outlook for 2021 and beyond.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray injured his right ankle early in Sunday's game against the Rams. It's unclear if this is the same injury that had him on this week's injury report. Murray headed back to the locker room and is officially questionable to return.
Update: Murray re-entered in the 4th quarter, with Arizona down 18-7.
There's "optimism" Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hip) will be able to play vs. the Rams today, although he remains a game-time decision, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Edmonds has been playing through injuries for a few weeks now. He can't be trusted in Week 17 fantasy lineups, but his presence would continue to cap RB Kenyan Drake's upside.
The Cardinals on Saturday placed WR Christian Kirk on the COVID list. That knocks him out for Sunday's game against the Rams and should leave Larry Fitzgerald and KeeSean Johnson as Arizona's 2nd and 3rd wideouts for the regular-season finale. Andy Isabella might also finally make it off the inactive list. We'll see about Kirk's availability for the playoff opener, if Arizona makes it.
Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hip) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Rams. HC Kliff Kingsbury said he’ll be a game-time decision. Edmonds’ absence would be a boost to RB Kenyan Drake’s projected volume.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (leg) put in a full week of practice and isn’t listed on the final injury report. There’s still a chance his rushing is limited this weekend, and the passing matchup is a tough one vs. the Rams. It leaves Murray as a lower-end QB1 for Week 17.
Cardinals S Budda Baker (neck) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Rams. Baker sustained the injury in Thursday's practice and then was not seen during the open portion of Friday's workout. HC Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that Baker is "a little sore" but that the team is "hopeful that he will be able to go." We'll see about his status Sunday afternoon. With a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, though, we might not know before the early games begin.