Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged that the choice of cornerback Malcolm Butler to potentially retire was a surprise.
"We all like Malcolm, like what he is about, he's a really good player in this league, and it was a personal decision of his," the Cardinals coach said Wednesday after the team's final practice of the week.
Butler was placed on the Reserve/Retired list on Tuesday. Kingsbury was not getting into specifics, deferring to the player.
"That's a personal question that you'd have to ask him, but as an organization, and talking with his people, this is the spot we came to," Kingsbury said.
Butler signed a contract worth more than $3 million, and it was guaranteed for skill and injury. But retiring means Butler would not get his salary, and Pro Football Talk reported that the majority of his signing bonus was deferred until early next year, and so Butler would forfeit that as well if he walks away.
Kingsbury wasn't closing any door on a return – asked if the line of communication was still open with Butler's side, Kingsbury said "it's always going to be open" – and said what the team will do to organize the cornerback position without Butler is "an ongoing process."
The team is looking for bodies, and they are reportedly signing cornerback Rasul Douglas – a one-time third-round pick of the Eagles who was just released by the Texans – to the practice squad. But Kingsbury also said the Cardinals are comfortable starting Byron Murphy or Marco Wilson or Robert Alford on the outside.
Asked if Butler had performed to the level expected when they signed him in March – ostensibly to replace Patrick Peterson – Kingsbury said "he's a very good player."
KEEPING STREVELER AS THIRD QB
The Cardinals decided to keep a third quarterback on the 53-man roster, and it was in part due to the real possibility of losing a quarterback on game day to a positive Covid test and the hoops that would have to be jumped to promote a practice squad player in that circumstance.
But Kingsbury said with Chris Streveler, that wasn't the only reason.
"Just the ability that, if something were to happen to Kyler, the ability to have another guy who can do some of the things we like to do with the quarterback run game," Kingsbury said. "Colt (McCoy) is 34, I believe, not really his game anymore. And we think Strev has earned it. He's gotten better every year and we want him on the roster."
VACCINE NUMBERS IMPROVING
Owner Michael Bidwill, while recording an episode of The Pasch Podcast with play-by-play man Dave Pasch on Monday, noted that as of that moment, the Cardinals only had one player who was still unvaccinated.
That was prior to final cutdowns. The Cardinals were reportedly one of the least vaccinated teams in the NFL prior to training camp.
Bidwill's episode of The Pasch Podcast posts on Sept. 6.
Images from Tuesday's practice in Tempe.