TE Leonard Pope was the team's third-round pick in the 2006 draft but the former Georgia standout never materialized as expected. Pope showed flashes of brilliance during his career in the desert and looked to have developed into an excellent red-zone target. However, injuries derailed that plan and the Cardinals' extreme depth at the tight end position ultimately made Pope dispensable entering the 2009 campaign. Taking Pope's place is TE Dominique Byrd, who'll help fill in for the suspended Ben Patrick.
The other significant move by the Arizona front office was the release of safety Aaron Francisco. Francisco played a major role on special teams and as a reserve secondary member during his time with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, Arizona's depth at the position was Francisco's demise particularly with rookie safety Rashad Johnson now in the mix. To the Cardinals surprise, Johnson was still on the board in the third round of the draft and ended up costing Francisco a roster spot.
Assuming they're able to pass a physical, Pope and Francisco should find a new home sooner rather than later. Both are capable players and will likely be targeted by teams seeking help at either position. DE Keilen Dykes, OG Trevor Canfield are among the notable players already signed to the Cardinals' practice squad that will continue to develop in hopes of making the main stage. Several newcomers are also expected to be added along with holdovers WR Ed Gant and DE Alex Field.
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