The salary cap can be difficult to navigate when a team experiences a large amount of injuries among veteran players.
All those players still count and when a player is placed on reserve/injured another is added to the roster, which increases the cap charges.
The Cardinals currently have 10 players on reserve/injured including guard/tackle Justin Murray who has been designated for return.
General manager Steve Keim restructured the contract of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips when tight end Zach Ertz was acquired in a trade last month from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Now, apparently to simply have flexibility for needed roster changes, the contract of linebacker Devon Kennard was restructured to save $1.7 million in cap space.
Kennard’s base salary for 2021 is $6.25 million, and with 10 weeks played, he had been paid more than half that salary.
The Cardinals turned $2.6 million of his base salary into a signing bonus to save that $1.7 million. The $2.6 million prorates at about $867,000 for three years (2021, 2022 and 2023). That final season will void, but the prorated bonus will still count in one of the next two years.
In 2022, Kennard’s base salary is scheduled to be $6.25 million, so his cap charge will be slightly more than $9 million if he is on the roster. The additional cap charge is from his original signing bonus plus the latest restructuring.
One report characterized the bonus as a “reward,” but in reality it’s merely an advance on salary he would have received over the final eight weeks of the season. Kennard’s base salary became guaranteed when he was on the opening-day roster.
It’s also odd that a website ranking of players has Kennard 12th among edge rushers in the entire league and first on the Cardinals ahead of Chandler Jones and Markus Golden.