Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Maxx Williams (87) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals activate TE Maxx Williams from PUP list

The Arizona Cardinals activated tight end Maxx Williams from the physically unable to perform list on Thursday.

Williams, 28, landed on the PUP list on July 22. He has been recovering from a torn right ACL suffered last October.

He had 16 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown in five games last season. He signed a one-year, $1,272,500 contract in the offseason.

Williams has 102 receptions for 994 yards and six scores in 72 career games with the Baltimore Ravens (2015-18) and Cardinals.

–Field Level Media

May 7, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in attendance during UFC 274 at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cards sign Kyler Murray to 5-year extension

Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray has agreed to a contract extension that will make him among the richest quarterbacks in the NFL, according to multiple reports.

The Cardinals officially announced Murray’s five-year contract extension Thursday but did not disclose financial terms. However, the deal is reportedly worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed.

The agreement follows months of back and forth between Murray’s camp and the Cardinals.

In February, Murray scrubbed his Instagram page of all references to the Cardinals, making apparent his dissatisfaction with his contract at the time. His agent later released a statement of more than 1,000 words saying Murray wanted a new contract.

In May, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he thought the two sides would “be able to get something done this summer.”

Murray attended just one session of this year’s voluntary OTAs.

Murray, 24, was drafted first overall by the Cardinals in 2019 and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top young QBs, helping the Cardinals improve from five wins in 2019 to eight in 2020 then up to 11 in 2021.

In 2021, Murray passed for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, and he also rushed for 423 yards and five scores last season.

Murray made his playoff debut against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC wild-card round and his performance did not impress. He completed 19 of 34 passes for only 137 yards and two interceptions in a 34-11 loss.

In three seasons, Murray has a 22-23-1 record as a starter. He has passed for 11,480 yards, 70 touchdowns and 34 interceptions, while rushing for 1,786 yards and 20 scores in 46 starts.

The Cardinals selected Murray out of Oklahoma months after he was named the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt ‘very limited’ in return to practice

Arizona pass rusher J.J. Watt was “very limited” in his return to practice Thursday, Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Watt, 32, was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 6 following surgery to repair a torn labrum, torn rotator cuff and torn bicep. He sustained the injuries during Arizona’s Week 7 win against the Houston Texans.

“We wanted to get him back out doing some functional football exercises, and that was the step today,” Kingsbury said.

Watt and the team are hopeful he’ll be ready to play in Monday night’s wild-card game at the Los Angeles Rams.

However, Watt was non-committal about playing when talking to reporters on Wednesday, saying, “We’ll make that decision as Monday comes closer.”

He started the first seven games this season and recorded 16 tackles, 10 quarterback hits, one sack and one forced fumble.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Cardinals in March after playing his first 10 seasons with Houston.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. Arizona defeated Seattle 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals designate J.J. Watt to return from IR

The Arizona Cardinals designated defensive end J.J. Watt to return from injured reserve on Friday.

Watt can begin practicing Friday and can be activated to the 53-man roster at any time in the next 21 days.

NFL Network sources said the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year hopes to return for the first round of the playoffs.

The Cardinals (11-5) finish the regular season at home Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks (6-10).

Watt, 32, was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 6 following surgery to repair a torn labrum, torn rotator cuff and torn bicep. He sustained the injuries during Arizona’s Week 7 win against the Houston Texans, his former team.

He started the first seven games this season and recorded 16 tackles, 10 quarterback hits, one sack and one forced fumble.

Watt signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Cardinals in March after playing his first 10 seasons with Houston.

This marked the fourth time in the last six seasons that Watt missed eight or more games. He has 102 career sacks, 26 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and two interceptions in 135 games since the Texans drafted him 11th overall in 2011.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) celebrates after scoring a rushing touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

Nfl Los Angeles Rams At Arizona Cardinals

Report: Cardinals RB James Conner (heel) to play vs. Colts

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner will play Saturday night against the visiting Indianapolis Colts after missing practice all week with a heel injury, ESPN reported.

Conner, who was listed as questionable on the injury report, was said to be a game-time decision for the Cardinals (10-4).

Conner’s 14 rushing touchdowns rank second in the NFL behind Jonathan Taylor (17) of the Colts (8-6).

Conner, 26, has a team-leading 700 rushing yards to go along with 31 catches for 334 yards and two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) rushes the ball Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, during a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Slipping Cardinals try to get back on track against Colts

The Arizona Cardinals will try to return to their winning ways Saturday at home against the Indianapolis Colts following last week’s loss at the Detroit Lions and posting a 3-4 record in their last seven games.

The Cardinals’ 7-0 start is a distant memory with how they have fared lately. That includes back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Rams and the Lions, who had the worst record in the NFL with only one win entering the game.

“I just felt like we all were pressing,” Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said about the 30-12 loss to Detroit. “Got behind and instead of taking it a play at a time, we were looking for that 17-point play. It starts with me as a play caller and everybody kind of fell in line. That’s not how you play.”

The Cardinals (10-4) have gone from having the best record in the NFL two weeks ago to dropping to the No. 4 playoff seed in the NFC.

Things won’t be easier for them vs. Indianapolis (8-6). The Colts have won five of their past six games.

Of major concern for Arizona is ranking No. 27 in the NFL in rushing yards per carry allowed with Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor coming to town. Taylor leads the league with 1,518 rushing yards. No other player is within 424 yards of him.

He rushed for 170 yards and one touchdown against the New England Patriots defense in a 27-17 victory in Week 15, which strengthened the Colts’ AFC wild-card chances.

The Colts have relied heavily on Taylor in recent games. Through the first 10 games of the season, Taylor averaged 16.1 carries per game. In the last four games, he has averaged 27.3 carries.

“I don’t have any concerns,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said. “We’re constantly talking to him, and obviously, it’s not always going to be the way it’s been the last few games (vs. Buffalo Nov. 21, Tampa Bay Nov. 28 and New England). At this point, he’s showing no wear and tear.”

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray is showing signs of frustration in the last three weeks since returning from an injury, including losses in the last two games, by throwing three interceptions with three touchdown passes against the Chicago Bears, Rams and Lions.

He was sacked seven times in those games. Against Detroit, he uncharacteristically rushed for just three yards on four attempts.

One of his favorite targets, DeAndre Hopkins, is out for at least the rest of the regular season with an MCL tear that required surgery. Hopkins did not play against Detroit.

When asked if he and the Cardinals can revert to how they played earlier in the season, Murray said, “I hope so. When you get beat like this (against Detroit) in the fashion that we did, it’s an ugly taste. I know the guys in there will rally behind each other and we’ll get it done.”

Arizona running back James Conner fought through an ankle injury against Detroit but was listed as a non-participant in the team’s injury report this week with a heel issue against the Colts.

Wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (knee) were also absent Wednesday at practice with their respective injuries.

Indianapolis had safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion), center Ryan Kelly (personal, infant daughter passed away) and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (illness) listed as out on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media