Cardinals release CB Darqueze Dennard, OL Marcus Henry from IR

By Jess Root

The Arizona Cardinals had a pair of moves appear on the NFL transaction list on Thursday that they didn’t announce. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard and offensive lineman Marcus Henry were both released from injured reserve with injury settlements.

They now are free to sign with other teams.

Dennard, a veteran signed in the offseason, had a leg injury that, according to Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, would have made him miss time, is now a free agent before the first game of the season is played.

What is potentially interesting in this move is that he could potentially rejoin the Cardinals later in the year should they need cornerback help and should he remain a free agent.

While getting placed on injured reserve before the season begins normally ends a player’s season, it is not unprecedented for the Cardinals to later re-sign a player they released from IR with an injury settlement.

Back in 2015, safety Chris Clemons, who was a core special teams player, was placed on injured reserve and then released with an injury settlement early in the season. He was re-signed in December.

AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban explained it when Clemons came back.

In short, an injury settlement allows a player to be released from IR and sign anywhere else, and it allows a team to avoid having a player on IR all season (and get paid for sitting out). The settlement is an agreement on both sides on how long whatever the injury might be will take to heal — and then the player is paid as if he remained on the roster that many weeks.

The released player is free to sign anywhere immediately — except back with his own team. In that case, the player can’t return to the original team until the length of the injury settlement has passed, plus six weeks.

So if he would like to return later in the season and the Cardinals have a need for him, that is an option down the road.

As for now, the Cardinals will roll with Byron Murphy, Robert Alford and rookie Marco Wilson as their three starting cornerbacks.

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