Cardinals Make 2 Roster Moves, Tender ‘Rising Star’: Report

Cardinals tender linebacker Dennis Gardeck

Getty Linebacker Dennis Gardeck #45 and outside linebacker Haason Reddick #43 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate with Zach Allen #94 after a sack on quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The Arizona Cardinals are doing their best to keep the gang together.

Shortly after news of the team retaining veteran pass rusher Markus Golden on a two-year deal, the Cards announced that they have extended a second-round tender offer to 2020 breakout performer Dennis Gardeck. The tender slots Gardeck — who NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport eluded to as a “potential rising star” — to earn $3.38 million in 2021, while compensating Arizona with a second-round pick were he to join another team this offseason.

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Gardeck Flashed Big-Time Potential in Limited Usage

A special teams captain, the former undrafted free agent emerged as a promising defensive presence for the Cardinals this past season. Despite logging just 94 snaps on that side of the ball (his first defensive snaps of his career), Gardeck amassed 7.0 sacks — good enough for second-most on the roster. Over 14 games, the 26-year-old compiled 16 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits.

Since joining Arizona in 2018, Gardeck has appeared in 44 career games, netting 1,040 special teams snaps — an average of 77.3% of the team’s special snaps over that span. The Sioux Falls product did tear his ACL against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15 of the season, putting his availability for the start of training camp/preseason in doubt.

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Cards Make Tender Offer to Zeke Turner

Gardeck wasn’t the only linebacker to receive a tender offer on Monday. Three-year pro Ezekiel Turner was given the right-of-first-refusal tender, which carries a $2.1 million price tag (per the team’s official website). While Turner is still free to seek deals from other teams, the tender allows the Cardinals the right to match any offer. 

Much like Gardeck, Turner has been a fantastic presence on special teams since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018. During his first season in the desert, the Washington product led the entire NFL with 13 solo special teams tackles, collecting 22 total tackles along the way. This past season, he tied for the team lead with 15 special teams tackles. He also blocked two punts and hauled in a 26-yard reception on a fake punt for good measure.

In other roster news, the team has tendered an offer to exclusive rights free agent Kylie Fitts. The offer takes Fitts off the market, giving the Cards yet another backup outside linebacker and special teams contributor to deploy.

One player who has not received a tender is restricted free agent wide receiver Trent Sherfield. First reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the move allows the speedster to hit the open market. Sherfield has spent the majority of his Cardinals tenure serving as a special teams gunner. Offensively, he’s hauled in just 28 receptions for 340 yards and one touchdown over the past three seasons. In 2020, Sherfield logged just 7% of the team’s offensive snaps.


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