NFC West: Steve Baylark

Practice-squad update: Cardinals

September, 1, 2008
Cardinals eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Cardinals Status
Calais CampbellDE53-man roster
Tim CastilleFB53-man roster
Dominique Rodgers-
CB53-man roster
Early DoucetWR53-man roster
Tim HightowerRB53-man roster
Kenny IwebemaWR53-man roster
Brandon KeithOL53-man roster
Ben PatrickTE53-man roster
Elliot Vallejo
53-man roster
Brian St. PierreQB53-man roster
Ali HighsmithLB53-man roster
Lance LongWRPractice Squad
Pat Ross
OLPractice Squad
Michael AdamsCBPractice Squad
Jason BanksDLPractice Squad
Keilen DykesDLPractice Squad
Onrea Jones
WRPractice Squad
Wilrey Fontenot
CBPractice Squad
Dennis KeyesSWaived
Carlton MedderOLWaived
Brent MillerTEWaived
DeMario MinterCBWaived
Anthony MorelliQBWaived
Alex ShorTEWaived
Chris VincentRBWaived
Travarous BainCBWaived
Steve BaylarkRBWaived
Peter CliffordOLWaived
Chris HarringtonLBWaived
Jasper HarveyOLWaived

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals' practice squad is coming together with the signing of seven players. One spot remains open. Five of the seven spent training camp with Arizona. Two others, receiver Onrea Jones and cornerback Wilrey Fontenot, were elsewhere.

The chart shows every Cardinals player with practice-squad eligibility.

Re-signing Pat Ross to the practice squad gives the Cardinals needed depth at the position. The team couldn't justify setting aside a spot on its 53-man roster for him, and that made sense. Ross isn't one of the Cardinals' 53 best players.

But with starting center Al Johnson sidelined for the short term, the team wasn't going to proceed with only Lyle Sendlein at the position.

The Cardinals
liked offensive lineman Elliot Vallejo's potential enough to carry him on the 53-man roster. They also thought linebacker Ali Highsmith, though undrafted, played well enough this summer to catch scouts' attention around the league.

This is the tough part for NFL teams. They tend to overvalue their own practice-squad-eligible prospects -- not enough to sign them to the 53-man roster, but enough to sweat the time it takes for these players to pass through waivers. The fear isn't justified most of the time.

Lance Long had a very good rookie camp for the Cardinals. No one signed him. Jamar Adams and Michael Bumpus had strong camps for Seattle. The 49ers like running back Thomas Clayton and receiver Dominique Zeigler.

Yet, these players made it through waivers. Other teams can sign them at any time, but teams get comfortable with their own players. They rarely sign players from another team's practice squad. When they do, it's usually a short-term fix.

Practice-squad report: Cardinals

August, 29, 2008
Cardinals eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Probable Status
Calais CampbellDEKeeper
Tim CastilleFBKeeper
Dominique Rodgers-CromartieCBKeeper
Early DoucetWRKeeper
Tim HightowerRBKeeper
Kenny IwebemaWRKeeper
Brandon KeithOLKeeper
Ben PatrickTEKeeper
Pat RossCKeeper
Brian St. PierreQBKeeper
Ali HighsmithLBBubble
Dennis KeyesSBubble
Lance LongWRBubble
Carlton MedderOLLikely cut
Brent MillerTELikely cut
Demario MinterCBLikely cut
Anthony MorelliQBLikely cut
Alex ShorTELikely cut
Elliot VallejoOLLikely cut
Chris VincentRBLikely cut
Michael AdamsCBLikely cut
Travarous BainCBLikely cut
Jason BanksDLLikely cut
Steve BaylarkRBLikely cut
Peter CliffordOLLikely cut
Keilen DykesDLLikely cut
Chris HarringtonLBLikely cut
Jasper HarveyOLLikely cut

Posted by's Mike Sando

The chart shows each of the Cardinals' players with practice-squad eligibility, according to the team.

Practice-squad rules can be confusing, and exceptions sometimes apply to relatively experienced players. Brian St. Pierre has been around longer than most players with eligibility. He'll make the 53-man roster, though, so the practice squad won't be an issue for him.

I've categorized each player based on his perceived likelihood of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Those are rough characterizations. Teams still have not made decisions. It's conceivable that a player listed as a "keeper" could face his release.

As noted: Rosters spots are serious business for NFL players lacking job security. For some, the next 30 hours or so will determine whether they'll earn $17,352.94 per week or whatever the real world pays.

The minimum NFL salary is $295,000. Players get paid in 17 installments, one for every week they spend as a paid member of the organization.

NFL teams must trim rosters from 75 players to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. Teams can establish eight-man practice squads beginning Sunday. Practice-squad players earn a minimum of $5,200 per week during the regular season and playoffs.

Once a player signs with a practice squad, he can practice with the team. He becomes eligible to play in games only if a team signs him to its 53-man roster. Practice-squad players are free to sign with any team's active roster at any time during the season.

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Cardinals' decision to release longtime running back Marcel Shipp comes as no surprise after the team drafted Richmond running back Tim Hightower in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.

The move leaves Arizona with seven running backs, still in line with the NFL average. I'll update the running back portion of our recent Cardinals roster analysis below:

Running backs (7)
Average number kept since 2003: 5.2
Locks: Edgerrin James, Terrelle Smith, Tim Castille, Tim Hightower
On the bubble: Marcel Shipp, J.J. Arrington
Also: Steve Baylark, Dionte Johnson
Comment: The Cardinals carried Castille, a fullback, on their roster last season even though he didn't play. That tells you the team likes him.