Arizona Cardinals cut veteran quarterback Colt McCoy less than two weeks before kickoff

Arizona Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon enters his first season with the organization facing low expectations from oddsmakers following a string of transactions that signal the team is in rebuilding mode. (File photo by Bobby Murphy/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback room remains filled with question marks after the team released Colt McCoy less than two weeks before the season kicks off.

“Colt’s awesome,” coach Jonathan Gannon said. “He’s a true pro’s pro, that’s why he’s played so long. Having gone through this process in a different seat a lot of times, it felt a little bit different today because you know they care.”

This decision was made Monday, just four days after the Cardinals acquired quarterback Joshua Dobbs from the Tennessee Titans via trade, though Gannon said the new signing wasn’t a factor in moving on from McCoy.

“We felt like it was the best decision for the team to move forward with the guys in that locker room,” Gannon said.

McCoy spent two of his 12 NFL seasons with the Cardinals, primarily playing the role of backup. He racked up 1,520 passing yards and four touchdowns in 12 games over the last two seasons.

The veteran provided an experienced secondary option behind Kyler Murray, who remains on the active/PUP list while he recovers from a torn ACL.

Gannon said Murray is expected to stay on the PUP list to begin the season, meaning the Cardinals will be without a listed starting quarterback heading into Week 1 against the Washington Commanders.

This sets up for a healthy competition between Dobbs and rookie quarterback Clayton Tune to claim the top roster spot, which Gannon said the team has no interest in specifying for the opener at the moment.

“I’m not going to name a starter because I think it’s a competitive advantage for us,” Gannon said.

Although an official starter won’t be named until the Cardinals get closer to the regular season, Gannon is keeping his cards close to his chest.

“We’ve got a pretty good plan in place, but I want to see them both go through the next few weeks,” he said.

Signs are pointing toward Dobbs earning the starting nod given his one year of experience under new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing during his time in Cleveland.

Gannon said he is excited about what Dobbs will bring to Arizona, in part because of this familiarity with Petzing’s system

“He’s extremely intelligent. His character is through the roof,” Gannon said. “He’s a mobile guy that understands the system. He’s mobile, can make throws, play in the pocket and outside of the pocket. That’s what we’re looking for.”

The uncertainty at quarterback has led to concerns from not only the fans and media, but sportsbooks as well. The Cardinals’ 2023 season-long win total was set at over/under 5.5 when odds were first posted, but have since dropped a full two games down to 3.5 (-145 for over, +120 for under) to mark the lowest NFL win total posted by oddsmakers since the 2017 season when the Cleveland Browns were set at over/under 4.5 wins. The Browns had a historic season that year for all the wrong reasons, finishing with an 0-16 record.

The Cardinals have the longest odds to win their division this season, coming in at 35-1 to claim the top spot in the NFC West at DraftKings. Major sportsbooks believe the Cardinals have a better chance of going 0-17 this season (+1600) than winning their division.

A large portion of this team’s success rides on the shoulders of Murray, who will be unavailable until Oct. 8 at the earliest. Gannon and the Cardinals are in no rush to get their franchise quarterback back on the field until he is fully prepared.

“He’s got a plan that’s football related and a plan that’s rehab related, and both are important,” Gannon said. “The plan that’s most important right now is his health.”

The Cardinals will begin the season Sunday, Sept. 10, when they face the Washington Commanders on the road.

Sports Broadcast Reporter, Phoenix

Ryan Bunnell expects to graduate in December 2024 with a master’s of arts in sports journalism. Bunnell is a die-hard sports fanatic with a passion for storytelling.