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Cardinals Reportedly Release LB Devon Kennard

The Arizona Cardinals have made their first surprising cut as the 53-man roster deadline approaches.
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In a surprising move, the Arizona Cardinals have released outside linebacker Devon Kennard, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Kennard replied to the report on Twitter, saying "Cold world . . . see what God has in store for me next!"

Kennard was a candidate to start for Arizona on the outside opposite 2021 team sack leader Markus Golden. 

With Kennard no longer on the roster, the move allows the Cardinals to give their younger players, such as rookies Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders, second-year Victor Dimukeje and possibly roster-bubble candidate rookie Jesse Luketa, a chance to grow. Dennis Gardeck will also be a top candidate to start or at the least get significant snaps in the outside linebacker group.

The 31-year-old defender signed a three-year, $20 million contract with the Cardinals in 2020 after he was released by the Detroit Lions. His first two seasons were disappointments. He dealt with injuries, COVID-19 and was eventually replaced in the starting lineup by Markus Golden.

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Kennard posted 24 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two passes defensed and two quarterback hits in 15 games played (three starts) last season.

He was considered a possible cut candidate earlier in the offseason. But the Cardinals restructured Kennard's contract in March from $6.75 million to $1.12 million in salary, with $600,000 of his salary guaranteed. His cap hit went from $9.1 to $3.61 million. 

Arizona will now have to eat that $600K in guaranteed salary after releasing Kennard.

Kennard's reported release comes after the cuts of cornerback Josh Jackson, linebacker Joe Walker and offensive lineman Koda Martin.

Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson also reported that cornerback Jace Whittaker and wide receiver Andre Baccellia were released. Wilson also added that the two players could latch onto the Cardinals practice squad if they clear waivers although Baccellia has been dealing with an ankle injury.

The Cardinals have until 1 p.m. Arizona time Tuesday to trim their roster down to 53 players.