Feely loses battle for Cardinals' place-kicking position

Rookie Chandler Catanzaro in line to replace veteran as Arizona kicker.

Jay Feely made 98 of 115 field-goal attempts in his four seasons with the Cardinals.

Matt Kartozian / USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Longer kickoffs and younger legs earned rookie Chandler Catanzaro the Cardinals' place-kicking job.

That became clear Moday morning when veteran Jay Feely was among 13 players released by Arizona in the first wave of cuts that were due by Tuesday to trim NFL rosters to 75 players.

Feely, 38, made 30 of 36 field-goal attempts last season and 98 of 115 over his four seasons in Arizona, but the Cardinals were concerned with his lack of distance on kickoffs.

Feely broke the news earlier in the day on social media, thanking the Cardinals for his four years here:

Feely altered his approach on kickoffs to generate more distance, and while his two kickoffs in Sunday's preseason game against Cincinnati went eight and nine yards into the end zone, the Cardinals believe Catanzaro, an undrafted 23-year-old free agent out of Clemson, is the better option.

"They were both about the same field-goal wise. The kickoffs were obviously a huge difference although Jay has really improved his," coach Bruce Arians said. "I just like the strength of his (Chandler's) for a young guy. He has a real good demeanor about him."

When it was suggested there was a risk involved in choosing a rookie over a veteran with years of experience and clutch performances, Arians shrugged.

"It's the same at every position," he said. "You either can or you can't."

Feely made 1 of 2 field-goal attempts Sunday night -- hitting from 24 yards and missing from 48. Catanzaro made his only attempt from 23 yards. One of his kickoffs went nine yards deep in the end zone; he kicked the other one out of the end zone.

Two other veterans were among Monday's cuts: Quarterback Ryan Lindley and offensive tackle Max Starks.

Lindley's departure was widely expected, and with it happening now, it gives him time to audition with another team. Arians said that was a major consideration in letting Lindley and Feely go now, rather than waiting one more week.

Logan Thomas, drafted in the fourth round of Virginia Tech, will be the Cardinals' third quarterback, behind veterans Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.

Starks, an 11-year veteran who spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, signed with the Cardinals at the start of fall camp, but was relegated to third team in Sunday's game against the Bengals -- a mild surprise although he had struggled with an ankle injury.

Arians said it is still possible the Cardinals could bring him back (at a reduced price) if he isn't claimed, but he added that Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter have improved in recent weeks and must continue to do so in their quest for a roster spot.

The other cuts were linebackers Keenan Clayton, JoJo Dickson and Derrell Johnson, wide receivers Reggie Dunn and ASU product Kevin Ozier, center Tom Draheim, safety Orhian Johnson, defensive tackle Justin Renfrow, cornerback Brandon Sermons and running back Damien Thigpen.


Inside linebacker Kevin Minter and left guard Jonathan Cooper were scheduled to return to practice on Monday with Arians terming Minter "a full go" while Cooper is still nursing a turf toe.

Minter called his pectoral injury "a pull or a strain-type deal." 

While there was some concern Minter might not make it back by the season-opener, Minter said "it wasn't really that bad in the beginning."

Minter said he got a second opinion on the injury that confirmed what the Cardinals staff was telling him. The trainers are still mulling whether he should wear a harness. 

Interestingly, Cooper has fallen behind Ted Larsen on the depth chart while Minter has maintained his No. 1 spot over Lorenzo Alexander. Even Tyrann Mathieu is still listed at No. 1 at free safety despite practicing just three times in camp.


Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was scheduled to undergo surgery on his torn ACL ON Monday at 1 p.m., with Dr. James Andrews performing the procedure.


-- Arians said at least five roster spots could be impacted by Thursday's preseason finale in San Diego.

-- The starters will not play at all in the team's final preseason game, although Arians held out the possibility Tyrann Matheu could. He also made it clear earlier this week that Minter and Cooper must see some game time in order to play in the season opener.

-- QB Logan Thomas will play the entire game Thursday. 

-- The Cardinals will bring defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in for a workout Tuesday, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic reported. Kelly (6-6, 310) signed a two-year deal with the Patriots in the 2013 offseason, but he was cut Sunday, freeing up $1.205 million. He started five games for the Patriots last season and recorded 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks. But he tore his ACL in Week 5 and landed on injured reserve.

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