The rookie season of wide receiver Hakeem Butler is over.
The Cardinals placed Butler on injured reserve Sunday with his hand injury, and because they did so during the preseason, Butler is ineligible to be one of the two allowed players to return from IR this season.
A player must be on the 53-man roster in Week One to be eligible to return later in the season from IR.
The Cards also put safety Josh Shaw, who hurt his shoulder in the preseason opener against the Chargers, on injured reserve. Three linebackers were released: Andre Branch, Hayes Pullard and Jeff Holland. Holland had just been claimed off waivers two weeks ago from Denver.
The Cardinals also officially signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree Sunday morning.
Butler’s chances to make an impact on the receiving corps this year – especially in the first half of the season – looked small even before his injury. With the addition of Crabtree and the emergence of fellow rookie KeeSean Johnson, the Cardinals figure to have solidified their top five receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Crabtree, Johnson and probably Trent Sherfield, with Damiere Byrd making a push as well.
Shaw’s situation means the Cardinals seem more likely to keep their two rookie safeties taken in the fifth round of both the regular and supplemental drafts – Deionte Thompson and Jalen Thompson.
The Cards now have 85 players on the roster. They have to trim to 53 by Saturday afternoon.