Cardinals release QB Colt McCoy, leaving position in flux as regular season approaches

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, the Arizona Cardinals are searching for a starting quarterback to man the position while Kyler Murray continues his recovery from a knee injury.

The Cardinals released their expected starting quarterback Colt McCoy on Monday, throwing the position into flux as Week 1 approaches against the Washington Commanders on Sept. 10.

The most likely options are rookie Clayton Tune or the recently acquired Joshua Dobbs, who came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Cleveland Browns last week.

“Every spot is open competition,” first-year Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said. “I think we've got a pretty good plan in place, but I want to see them both go through the next two weeks.”

Veteran David Blough has also received considerable playing time during the preseason.

The 36-year-old McCoy had a 3-3 record in spot starts as Murray's backup over the past two seasons, and was expected to take the snaps this fall while Murray recovers from a torn ACL suffered last season. McCoy was 9 of 12 passing for 45 yards in limited time during two preseason games.

Gannon said there wasn't one performance that led to McCoy's release, just the realization over time that the team needed to move in a different direction.

“Colt’s awesome, he’s a true pro’s pro,” Gannon said. “You know they care, they put a lot of hard work and sacrifice into their craft. But ultimately, if you’re honest with them, they appreciate that, and they know that we’re going to do what we have to do for what’s best for the team.

“But, yeah, these are tough days.”

It's unclear how much of this season Murray will miss.

Gannon said it's possible the franchise quarterback — who signed a $230.5 million, five-year deal in 2022 — could start the season on the PUP list, meaning he'll miss at least four games, but Gannon didn't have many updates on Monday.

“He's doing great,” Gannon said.

McCoy’s release was a surprise, but there were clues it might happen. Gannon declined to announce a starter during training camp and the arrival of Dobbs last week signaled that the Cardinals wanted more options under center.

The 28-year-old Dobbs should have some familiarity with the Cardinals' system. Arizona's new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing was the quarterbacks coach in Cleveland before coming to the desert.

Dobbs started two games for the Titans in 2022, losing both.

“He's a mobile guy who understands the system,” Gannon said. “He can make throws, play in the pocket or play outside the pocket.”

Tune — a fifth-round selection out of Houston — has flashed some potential, but is still in the very early stages of his development.

In other Monday moves, the Cardinals also released safety Sean Chandler and cornerback Nate Hairston. They also placed offensive lineman Pat Elflein on injured reserve.

McCoy has played 12 seasons with five teams, mostly as a backup. He's thrown for 7,975 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career and has a 11-25 mark in 36 starts.