Cardinals Activate ‘Big-Ticket Free Agent’; Elevate Former Giant

Cardinals activate Jordan Phillips, Rule Out Zane Gonzalez

Getty Cardinals DL Jordan Phillips, formerly of the Buffalo Bills.

When the New York Giants welcome the Arizona Cardinals into MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon, they’ll also be welcoming the return of one of Arizona’s most notable “big-ticket free agent” signings.

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Cardinals Activate Phillips & Peterson, Place Joseph on IR

Among a slew of roster moves ahead of the Week 14 contest, the Cardinals announced on Saturday that they have activated defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips, from Injured Reserve “in time to play against the Giants Sunday.” Phillips, who was inked to a three-year $30M deal this past March, has missed Arizona’s last four games with a hamstring injury.

Other moves include the activation of cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR, which corresponds with fellow cornerback Jonathan Joseph landing on IR with a neck injury. Defensive lineman Trevon Conley was released to free up space for the players returning from IR.

Cardinals Rule Out K Zane Gonzalez, Elevate Mike Nugent

Furthermore, the Cardinals have downgraded kicker Zane Gonzalez to out for Sunday’s game. Originally listed as questionable with a back injury, the placekicker has hit on 16 of his 22 field goal attempts this season, including a long of 56 yards. Veteran Mike Nugent, who spent the 2017 preseason as a member of the Giants, has been elevated to Arizona’s active roster to man the kicking duties in Gonzalez’s absence.

Joining Nugent as a practice squad elevation is tight end Seth DeValve, his second such elevation in as many weeks. The 27-year-old logged two snaps for the Cardinals in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams. His most prolific season to date came back in 2017 where he hauled in 33 of 58 targets for 395 yards and one touchdown as a member of the Cleveland Browns.

What the Return of Phillips Means for the Cardinals

The last time we saw the Arizona Cardinals take the football field, they were being gashed by the likes of Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. The Rams totaled 119 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground against the Cardinals a week ago. On the season, Arizona allows 123.0 rushing ypg, 12th-most in the NFL. Over their last three contests, they’ve seen that average jump up to 131.3 ypg.

Over that same three-game period, the Giants rank third in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 161.0 ypg, thanks in large part to the ascending play of running back Wayne Gallman. The fourth-year pro is fresh off a career-high 135-yard performance against the Seattle Seahawks. He’s now rushed for at least 94 yards in back-to-back weeks and has totaled 428 rushing yards and six touchdowns since Week 7.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is hopeful that the return of Phillips will help mitigate the production of one of football’s most prolific rushing attacks over the past month.

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