With the suspension clearly impacting the Cardinals, suddenly it creates a whole different perspective about Dominique Byrd – the most recently acquired of the team's six tight ends. When the Cardinals first took a brief look at Byrd during USC's pro day prior to the draft, they really didn't have any interest in signing him. Then he was brought in for a tryout during minicamp weekend and subsequently signed – and it wouldn't be a shock (although I don't know this for a fact) that the team was aware of Patrick's impending suspension at that point and wanted another tight end candidate.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Byrd (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) is about the same size as Patrick (6-3, 264) and both would be considered pass catchers first, blockers second. Is it possible the Cards lucked into a find, after Byrd had run himself out of the league after troubles in St. Louis? "I've got to tell you, he's been a pleasant surprise," general manager Rod Graves said. "He's caught the ball well. We'll see how it all shakes out when we put on pads, but so far, he's had a good offseason for us."
Byrd is a former third-round pick, but after flaming out with the Rams, his path into the NFL doesn't really matter much now that it's more than three seasons removed. And given that the Cards can hang on to Patrick through the suspension without him counting against the roster limit, I would guess that as long as Patrick continues to show progress he won't be going anywhere. But Byrd could become a darkhorse in the ongoing tight end race.