Arizona Cardinals LB Chandler Jones (55) and Devon Kennard (42) chat during training camp Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard has earned a midseason reward as the team converted $2.6 million of his base salary for this year into a bonus, which according to ESPN’s Field Yates opened $1.7 million in cap space for the team.
Kennard is in the second year of a three-year, $20 million contract that is backloaded. After he was a cap hit of only $2.5 million his first season with the Cardinals, the Desert Vista High School product counted $7.9 million against the cap in 2021 before the bonus adjustment made after Week 10.
He will count $8.3 million against the cap in his final year under the current contract in 2022.
Arizona general manager Steve Keim has previously given players contract adjustments mid-year in order to open cap space. While the trade deadline has passed this year, the Cardinals might be wanting to spend on the free agent market as injuries have piled up with a Week 11 game against the Seattle Seahawks remaining before a bye week.
Kennard was signed before 2020 to complement pass-rusher Chandler Jones on the opposite side of the line but last season dealt with minor injuries, then lost playing time to midseason pickup Markus Golden and backup Dennis Gardeck.
Kennard has remained in a backup role this year, playing in 25% of the available defensive snaps. He does have 15 tackles, four for loss, plus two quarterback hits, six QB hurries and two pass breakups, according to Pro Football Focus.
PFF has rated Kennard with a 76.1 mark on run defense and 73.2 in pass-rush resulting in a 81.2 overall grade. His overall grade is 12th among edge rushers in PFF’s database for this year and tops for the Cardinals.