Cardinals offensive tackle Bobby Massie has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season.
Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season under the policy for substances of abuse after he was arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, the NFL announced Saturday.
News of a potential suspension had leaked during training camp. Massie had been appealing the punishment. Massie cannot practice again until after the Cardinals' game Sept. 21 against the Bears.
The suspension means Massie will not count against the 53-man roster until he is reinstated. That allows the Cardinals to keep an extra player for now – which was necessary after the team made the trade for quarterback Matt Barkley Friday. The Cards need to
make 22 total roster moves to shave their roster. That list will be released later Saturday.
Massie's looming suspension is the main reason the Cardinals have worked to find a new right tackle to start the season. Earl Watford is expected to man that role, and it's possible Watford will remain the starter even after Massie returns. Massie's suspension also solidifies the roster spot of swing tackle Bradley Sowell, who could still be a candidate to start.
Coach Bruce Arians said Friday he wouldn't be announcing the makeup of the starting offensive line until Wednesday, although he said Watford was "solid" in the preseason finale against the Broncos. Arians also said he thought center Lyle Sendlein – currently second on the depth chart behind A.Q. Shipley – played well in his last appearance in Oakland.
As it stands, starting left guard Mike Iupati will miss the opener after his knee surgery. Left tackle Jared Veldheer, left guard Ted Larsen and right guard Jonathan Cooper are locks to start against the Saints.
"When we started camp I said it was the deepest offensive line group I've been around," Arians said. "If we had injuries or any problems, we have guys who have started, played, to fill in. I feel very comfortable we will have seven or eight guys out there next Sunday (against the Saints) who are more than capable."
With Sowell and rookie D.J. Humphries able to play both right and left tackle, "we have plenty of tackles," Arians added.
Massie is in the final year of his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. That's one of the reasons the Cardinals liked drafting Humphries in the first round, although the rookie was not able to challenge for the right tackle job for Massie's expected absence.
But Arians said Humphries is moving in the right direction after a rough training camp.
"D.J. had a very good week," Arians said. "He got beat once or twice but he is improving every day. I like where he is progressing now. He's learned a lot. He's not the first number one (tackle) to struggle. It's not an easy job playing left tackle or right tackle."