As the Arizona Cardinals begin their quest to cut the team’s roster size from 90 to 53 by the end of the preseason, we’re taking a look at every player at each position group and determining their odds of making the final cut.
Player: Brittan Golden
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 5th NFL season
Contract status: $690,000
2016 season quick review: After appearing in 14 games for the Cardinals in 2015, Golden entered the 2016 season with a strong case for a roster spot. Even though Arizona already had five superior receivers ahead of him on the depth chart, Golden offered the Cardinals value from a special teams perspective. However, at the end of training camp, that wasn’t enough for Golden to hang onto a job, and he began the year on Arizona’s practice squad. After injuries hit Arizona’s roster, Golden received a promotion and wound up appearing in 12 games, recording a career high eight catches for 82 yards. Golden never posted more than two catches in a single contest, but stuck with the team through the end of the season and even provided a bit of depth on the defensive side of the ball as he practiced at safety when Arizona got thin at the position late in the year.
Projected roster status: CardinalsSource is pegging 2017 as the season Golden and the Cardinals finally go their separate ways. Arizona has addressed its needs on special teams through free agency and the draft, and Golden doesn’t possess the same broad skill set as most of the other wide receivers on the Cardinals’ roster. Even so, Golden had a strong mini-camp showing according to Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
Projected depth chart status: In the unlikely event Golden makes the Cardinals’ roster in 2017, he would be slotted as the fifth or sixth receiver on the depth chart and would make most of his contributions on special teams.
CardinalsSource.com analysis: Golden has had a nice run with Arizona over the past four seasons, entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M and carving out a role at the bottom of the Cardinals’ roster as a rarely-used receiver and an often-used special teams asset. Though it took two full seasons for Golden to break through, he finally did so in 2015 when he stuck on the roster for almost the entirety of the year and filled a variety of roles on the Cardinals’ special teams units. Golden didn’t begin the 2016 season on Arizona’s active roster, which came as a bit of surprise, but it didn’t take long for him to climb back onto Bruce Arians’ radar. As the team’s depth was depleted, Golden was a steady presence for Arizona, contributing in spread personnel sets and giving the team a healthy body who understood the Cardinals’ offensive system. Entering the 2017 season, things don’t look as bright for Golden, as the Cardinals have added third round draft pick Chad Williams and veterans Jeremy Ross and Aaron Dobson to the mix. Additionally, with Andre Ellington expected to contribute at wide receiver, there’s not a demonstrated need for a player like Golden at the bottom of the depth chart. CardinalsSource believes Golden is best served finding a new role with a new organization, and starting from scratch in a place where he can prove his value on special teams.
Overall value: As a former undrafted free agent, the Cardinals were happy to receive the production they did out of Golden, who has yet to materialize as a truly dependable option at wide receiver, but still offered value in other forms. This year, though, keeping Golden would likely prevent Arizona from adding a more polished wide receiver to the 53-man roster, so as long as some of the other additions Arizona made this offseason are able to fill his roles on special teams, Golden doesn’t offer as much value as he once did.