With free agency arriving next week, the Cardinals made a step in changing up the roster Wednesday, releasing veteran inside linebacker Josh Bynes.
Bynes, who had been a solid late free agent addition in 2017 training camp, emerged as a starter last season under then-coach Steve Wilks as one of two linebackers on the field in what turned out to be a 4-2-5 alignment most of the season. Bynes started all 11 games for which he was healthy, before a thumb injury in Los Angeles in a loss to the Chargers ultimately sent him to injured reserve and ended his season.
Bynes had signed a three-year contract extension prior to the 2018 season. His release will save about $1.8 million on the cap, according to overthecap.com, with about $667,000 in dead money against the cap.
Bynes finished with 78 tackles, two sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown against the 49ers. His release, given a relatively low price tag, would seem to indicate defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is looking for a different skillset in the inside linebacker for which he want to plug in his scheme.
The Cardinals now have six linebackers under contract for 2019: Chandler Jones, Haason Reddick, Dennis Gardeck, Zeke Turner, Joe Walker and Vontarrius Dora.
Free agency begins March 13, with legal tampering allowed March 11. Among the top inside linebackers expected to be available on the open market are Kwon Alexander, C.J. Mosley and K.J. Wright.