The Cardinals have begun the process of releasing players as they whittle down to the 53-man regular season limit.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t enjoying the experience, knowing it may be the end of the road for some of them.
“It’s not fun, because these guys have come here and worked their tails off and moved their lives,” Kingsbury said. “When it doesn’t work out, it’s just a tough situation.”
Alas, every team must do it as they try to put together the most competitive rosters possible. For the Cardinals, especially, the work won’t end at Saturday’s 1 p.m. cutdown deadline. They will have the top waiver claim priority on every NFL player released with fewer than four accrued seasons.
“It’ll be a busy weekend, no question,” Kingsbury said. “I’m not sure as far as numbers go, what that will look like (when it comes to claims). But I know the scouting department has been working long hours getting ready, knowing the position we have and that claim order.”
Kingsbury said the scouts have been poring over tape and analyzing other rosters to determine the most likely cuts. There is only a 24-hour window to make a waiver claim, so the Cardinals must have all their ducks in a row.
“We try to get a feel for who we think is going to be available, so when they do happen you can be pretty efficient in your evaluations,” Kingsbury said.
There are several positions that seem ripe for possible waiver claims, like offensive tackle, outside linebacker, cornerback, inside linebacker, defensive line and wide receiver. It all depends on the pool of available players and how they stack up against the incumbents.
“When you have that first spot, there is an opportunity to get a look at some really good players,” Kingsbury said. “But they have to drastically improve what we have, because you have guys in which you’ve invested six months worth of coaching and training and installations. And so, if they are not a dramatic improvement, it’s going to be hard to make a move.”
General Manager Steve Keim hated finishing with the worst record in the NFL a year ago, but it allowed him to select quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Now he has a chance to use it to his advantage once again with the waiver priority.
“There’s a lot of things that go into this weekend,” he told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Friday morning. “We feel pretty confident that we’ll have the 53 that we’ll be excited about.”
Images from the fourth preseason game on Thursday night in Denver