Cardinals cut former first-rounder Nkemdiche

Field Level Media

July 28, 2019 at 5:46 am.

The Arizona Cardinals waived 2016 first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche on Saturday, ending a disappointing tenure with the team.

Nkemdiche, a defensive tackle listed at 6-foot-4 and 314 pounds, had been on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a December tear of his ACL, but he reported to camp earlier this week in poor shape.

“Not in shape, I guess,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters on Friday. “That’s kind of where we’ll leave it. He’s on PUP and he’s working through that. When he is cleared, we’ll work with him.”

Nkemdiche, who turns 25 in September, was pegged as a potential top-10 pick coming out of Ole Miss in 2016, but he slipped to Arizona at 29th overall amid concerns about his personality and work ethic.

Through three seasons with the Cardinals, he started just six of 27 games, totaling 4.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss. He was more productive in 2018, collecting all 4.5 sacks, seven QB hits and nine TFLs among 32 tackles, but his season ended with the ACL tear in Week 14.

Arizona declined Nkemdiche’s fifth-year option for 2020 in May, making 2019 the final year of his deal. He had been due a $400,000 bonus on the fifth day of camp had he remained on the roster.

Nkemdiche will be subject to waivers, with any team that claims him assuming the $1.6 million remaining on his contract. If unclaimed, he would become an unrestricted free agent.