The Cardinals released guard Adam Snyder Monday, clearing the way for No. 1 draft pick Jonathan Cooper.
The Cardinals made it plain they were going to plug first-round guard Jonathan Cooper into the starting lineup from the time he was chosen Thursday night.
Monday, they created an opening for Cooper, releasing veteran right guard Adam Snyder. The Cards also released guard Jeremiah Warren after drafting guard Earl Watford in the fourth round.
Cutting Snyder was not a surprise. In his lone season in Arizona he battled an elbow injury , gamely playing in 14 games including his first three career starts at center after injuries ended the seasons of Lyle Sendlein and Rich Ohrnberger. But the guard position was targeted early by new General Manager Steve Keim as a place to upgrade.
"He adds a nice dimension to the existing group of guys we have," Keim said of Cooper. "This is a very nice piece of the puzzle
and he will find his way to wherever his spot ends up."
When asked if Cooper would be starting last week after the pick, coach Bruce Arians said "I would think that's a pretty good bet."
When Cooper, the North Carolina product, was made the Cardinals' first-round pick seventh overall, Snyder was the logical odd man out. The Cardinals designated Snyder's release as a "June 1" cut, meaning that the Cardinals – after carrying his $4 million remaining hit on the salary cap through June 1 – will spread that over two seasons. He will be a $1 million cap hit in 2013 and $3 million in 2014.
Going into Monday, the Cardinals had just under $9.2 million of salary cap space available. Snyder was going to count $4 million on the cap this season had he stayed and is already factored into the current cap space.
Watford, from James Madison, also has a chance to contribute soon, Keim said.
"This guy has tremendous upside," Keim said. "He was a player that, again, playing at a small school, had an opportunity to play against some bigger colleges and played extremely well in those games. Then he went down to the East-West Shrine Game and during that week of practice was outstanding. I think he has a ton of ability, and with our two coaches obviously, Harold Goodwin and Larry Zierlein, I think we are going to see a lot of success with some of these guys that have untapped potential."