One day after signing free-agent tight end John Carlson, the Cardinals apparently released veteran guard Daryn Colledge. Although the move has not been made official and likely won't until Tuesday when free agency officially begins, Colledge tweeted his departure Saturday afternoon.
Wanna thank you the fans and the Cardinals for an amazing opportunity. A great organization headed in the right direction. Wish ya the best.
Colledge, 32, spent the past three seasons in Arizona after signing as a free agent on July 29, 2011. He was more comfortable at right guard and was supposed to play there until 2013 first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper broke his leg in the preseason and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Colledge then moved to left guard while Arizona State product Paul Fanaika took over at right guard, and Colledge played well for a line that improved as the season progressed. He was due to make $4.8 million this coming season, with a $7.275 million cap hit and $4.55 million in associated dead money. He will be a June 1 designation, so his $4.55 million cap hit will be spread over two years.
The Cardinals drafted two guards last season, Cooper and fourth-round pick Earl Watford, who was a bit of a project last season out of James Madison in the Virginia College Athletic Association. With Cooper returning to his normal spot at left guard, the Cardinals could keep Fanaika as the starter at right guard, Watford could replace him or they could sign a free agent. Watford has the size (6-4, 295) and the investment of a draft pick in his favor, but Fanaika has the experirience.
Regardless, the Cardinals' ever-changing offensive line will not know continuity next season, either. There will likely be a new starter at left tackle, with the Cards pursuing free agent Branden Albert and others. The left guard will be new, the right guard could be and Eric Winston, who started at right tackle last season, is a free agent.
Colledge, who is from North Pole, Alaska, was a strong presence in the locker room and a favorite of media members because of his colorful quotes.
When the Cardinals started 4-0 two seasons ago with an ugly win in New England, Colledge told The Arizona Republic that they were not the prettiest girl at the dance.
"We're like a 'four' or a 'five,'" Colledge said, "but we dance like an 'eight.'"