NFC West: Wilrey Fontenot

Catching up with the Cardinals' cut list

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
10:44
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Cardinals Player Released on Cutdown Pos. Current Team Capacity
Aaron Francisco
DB Colts Active Roster
Onrea Jones WR Redskins Practice Squad
Trevor Canfield OL Cardinals Practice Squad
Keilen Dykes
DL Cardinals Practice Squad
Alex Field
DL Cardinals Practice Squad
Ed Gant
WR Cardinals Practice Squad
Wilrey Fontenot
DB Cardinals Injured reserve
Chase Bullock LB -- --
Tim Castille RB -- --
Jameel Dowling
DB -- --
David Holloway
LB -- --
Reagan Maui'a
RB -- --
Carlton Medder
OL -- --
Tyler Palko
QB -- --
Leonard Pope
TE -- --
Steve Sanders
WR -- --
Pago Togafau
LB -- --
Chris Vincent
RB -- --
Melvin Fowler
OL -- --
Victor Hobson
LB -- --
Rodney Leisle
DL x x
Oliver Ross
OL x x
The tough decisions teams face in reducing their rosters to 53 players sometimes aren't so tough.

I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.

The chart shows results for Arizona.

Veteran safety Aaron Francisco signed with the Colts. Receiver Onrea Jones signed with the Redskins' practice squad. Arizona re-signed four players to its practice squad.

Four others -- Wilrey Fontenot, Chris Vincent, Carlton Medder and Pago Togafau -- were injured when the Cardinals released them. All but Fontenot have reached injury settlements, leaving the roster. Fontenot remains on injured reserve. Update: Fontenot has also reached an injury settlement.

Some veterans on the list might have an easier time finding work after Week 1. Rules require teams to guarantee salaries to some veterans who are active for Week 1 and then released.
Ex-Cardinals eligible for
practice squad
Pos.
Chase Bullock
LB
Trevor Canfield
OL
Jameel Dowling
DB
Keilen Dykes
DL
Alex Field
DE
Wilrey Fontenot*
DB
Ed Gant
WR
David Holloway
LB
Onrea Jones
WR
Carlton Medder*
OL
Tyler Palko
QB
Steve Sanders
WR
Pago Togafau*
LB
Chris Vincent
RB

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


NFL teams can begin forming eight-man practice squads once released players clear waivers this afternoon.

I've put together a list of recently released Cardinals players with eligibility for the practice squad. Each was released on the reduction to 53 players. Wilrey Fontenot, Carlton Medder and Pago Togafau were injured when they were released. I've placed asterisks next to their names.

Quarterback Tyler Palko showed enough during preseason for consideration, although the Cardinals have not been inclined to carry a fourth quarterback during the regular season. Guard Trevor Canfield was a draft choice. Defensive end Keilen Dykes appeared to make a strong run early in camp. Receiver Onrea Jones showed promise at times.

Cardinals: Cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2009
9/04/09
6:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Biggest surprise: There weren'y any big ones. Undrafted rookie linebacker Reggie Walker did beat out veteran Victor Hobson. The team kept seven receivers for now, including Lance Long, after injuries affected Early Doucet, Anquan Boldin and (previously) Steve Breaston. I would not expect the Cardinals to keep seven receivers all season, a reminder that this is the team's initial 53-man roster, not the final one.

Arizona sought to upgrade its secondary through the draft and free agency. That spelled the end for veteran safety Aaron Francisco. I thought the team might keep veteran center Melvin Fowler as insurance. Rookie returner LaRod Stephens-Howling stuck around, costing fullback Tim Castille a chance to continue with the team. Tight end Leonard Pope's demise had been on the horizon for a while and it was a bad sign when he was playing deep into the second half of the fourth exhibition game.

No-brainers: The team also released quarterback Tyler Palko, receiver Steve Sanders, receiver Ed Gant, cornerback Wilrey Fontenot, running back Chris Vincent, cornerback Jameel Dowling, fullback Reagan Maui'a, guard Trevor Canfield guard Carlton Medder, defensive end Alex Field, defensive tackle Keilen Dykes, tackle Oliver Ross, receiver Onrea Jones, defensive tackle Rodney Leisle, linebacker Chase Bullock and linebacker David Holloway. Canfield, chosen in the seventh-round, was the only 2009 draft choice released.

What's next: The heirarchy at tight end will continue to shake out, with Dominique Byrd essentially getting an extended tryout while Ben Patrick serves a four-game suspension. The team still could use a backup center with some experience.

Practice-squad report: Cardinals

August, 21, 2009
8/21/09
12:33
PM ET
Cardinals eligible for
practice squad
Pos. Perceived Status
Michael Adams
DB
Bubble
Jameel Dowling
DB
Likely cut
Wilrey Fontenot
DB
Likely cut
Rashad Johnson
DB
Keeper
Greg Toler
DB
Keeper
Alex Field
DL
Likely cut
Keilen Dykes
DL
Bubble
Cody Brown
LB
Keeper
Chase Bullock
LB
Likely cut
Will Davis
LB
Bubble
Ali Highsmith
LB
Bubble
Pago Togafau
LB
Bubble
Reggie Walker
LB
Likely cut
Trevor Canfield
OL
Likely cut
Ben Claxton
OL
Likely cut
Herman Johnson
OL
Keeper
Carlton Medder
OL
Likely cut
Brandon Keith
OL
Keeper
Brandon Pearce
OL
Likely cut
Elliot Vallejo
OL
Bubble
Tyler Palko
QB
Likely cut
Brian St. Pierre
QB
Keeper
LaRod Stephens-Howling
RB
Bubble
Chris Vincent
RB
Likely cut
Beanie Wells
RB
Keeper
Early Doucet
WR
Keeper
Ed Gant
WR
Likely cut
Michael Ray Garvin
WR
Bubble
Onrea Jones
WR
Likely cut
Lance Long
WR
Bubble
Steve Sanders
WR
Likely cut

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt's recent comments about LaRod Stephens-Howling highlight a subject likely to shape the team's plans for its practice squad.

What to do with a talented player who doesn't fit neatly into a general position, in this case, running back?

Stephens-Howling would be a prime candidate for the practice squad if the Cardinals did not initially make room for him on their 53-man roster. Specialist Michael Ray Garvin also could be a factor depending on how he recovers from knee surgery.

Quarterback Tyler Palko made an impression during the Cardinals' exhibition opener, but the team generally does not keep a quarterback on its practice squad. The need for an additional arm seems diminished with new quarterbacks coach Chris Miller sometimes throwing during practice.

Defensive end Keilen Dykes was making a strong push for a roster spot before suffering an injury. His status seems a bit less settled.

Receivers Onrea Jones and Lance Long could also be strong candidates for the practice squad if they do not land spots on the 53-man roster.

The chart shows all 31 current Cardinals players with eligibility, arranged by position.

NFL teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 75 players Sept. 1. They must reduce to 53 players Sept. 5. They can begin forming eight-man practice squads Sept. 6 at noon ET.

As the NFL puts it:

After 12 noon, New York ti
me, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free-agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s). A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have gotten dramatically younger at running back this offseason. Edgerrin James and Terrelle Smith are gone, leaving Tim Hightower and Dan Kreider as the only current Cardinals running backs with starting experience.

The team kept three halfbacks and two fullbacks on its Week 1 roster last season. Nine other teams also kept more than one fullback for the opener.

Hightower, Chris Wells, Jason Wright, Kreider and Tim Castille entered camp as the likely choices for those spots, should the team keep five. LaRod Stephens-Howling would have to significantly liven up the return game to earn a spot, most likely.


Arizona Cardinals Week 1 Roster Counts since 2003 QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2
4 5 2 8 5 6 7 2
Most 4 7 7 4 10 9 8 10 3
Average 3.0 5.3 6.0 3.2 8.8 7.7 7.0 8.8 2.8
Currently on roster
4
8 10 5 15 10 11 14 3

The chart provides a framework for how many players the Cardinals might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the 49ers.

Here's a quick look at which Cardinals players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

A quick look at 53-man rosters from Feb. 1, date of Super Bowl XLIII, provides a reference point for seeing how NFC West teams have changed so far this offseason.

I'll continue with Arizona.

Gone from the Cardinals' 53-man roster and injured reserve list in the 58 days since the Super Bowl (9):

Offense

Pat Ross, C

J.J. Arrington, RB

Terrelle Smith, FB

Jerame Tuman, TE

Scott Peters, OL

Defense

Eric Green, CB

Monty Beisel, LB

Antonio Smith, DE

Special teams

Nathan Hodel, LS

(Read full post)

Cardinals DB Pos. Age Status
Ralph Brown
CB 30 UFA
Adrian Wilson
SS
29 Signed
Michael Adams
CB 27 Signed
Rod Hood
CB
27 Signed
Keith Lewis
SS 27 Signed
Bryant McFadden
CB 27 Agreed
Eric Green
CB 26 UFA
Antrel Rolle
FS 26 Signed
Matt Ware
FS 26 Signed
Aaron Francisco
FS 25 Signed
Wilrey Fontenot
CB 24 Signed
Dennis Keyes
FS 23 Signed
D. Rodgers-Cromartie
CB 22 Signed

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Bryant McFadden gives the Cardinals a physical cornerback to pair opposite top cover man Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The improved depth also gives the Cardinals flexibility heading into the draft. Rodgers-Cromartie, McFadden and Rod Hood comprise a potentially strong top three at cornerback.

Here's the Scouts Inc. breakdown on McFadden, who joins the Cardinals from Pittsburgh as an unrestricted free agent:

McFadden has a strong well-defined body and adequate height. He plays the run well, is physical near the line of scrimmage and doesn't back down from a physical challenge. McFadden has decent instincts, plays th
e ball well and is a quick learner. He sees plays develop well and shows excellent competitiveness. He is a good tackler and gets his hands on the ball quite a bit.

His speed is just slightly above average and could be exposed against the faster wideouts in the league. His hip turn and change-of-direction skills are also just slightly above average, but he has very good body control and rarely takes false steps, which make up for some of his potential shortcomings. He can be overly aggressive at times going for the big play and will sometimes bite on double moves, although he has improved in this area.

McFadden is effective in press or off-coverage and may be at his best playing in a Cover 2, where he can stay close to the line of scrimmage and mix it up. He also does a nice job in off-coverage and sees the play develop in front of him well. He is a valuable member of the secondary, but needs to step up all areas of his game to be considered a solid starter. He also contributes on special teams and is a young player with an ample amount of upside..

The situation at cornerback has improved dramatically from one year ago. Rodgers-Cromartie became an emerging star as a rookie first-round draft choice. McFadden qualifies as a solid veteran. Hood is good enough to be part of the rotation, but now the Cardinals aren't counting on him to be a starter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES