(Williams went all in on the punctuation.)
Maybe they didn’t have to return together, but they will. Williams signed a one-year deal of his own on Wednesday, assuring the Cardinals were able to keep both players in place for 2022 and arguably their best tight end tandem since moving to Arizona in 1988.
“Maxx was playing some of the best football of his career prior to his injury and then Zach, had he had a full season,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Both are great fits for our system. If we had them both we’d be in good shape.”
The Cardinals also released defensive tackle Jordan Phillips on Wednesday, ending a disappointing tenure for the 2020 free-agent signee. According to overthecap.com, the move will gain $4.1 million in salary cap space, although it costs the team $9.2M in dead cap money, but the Cardinals can split that if they designate Phillips a June 1 cut.
Linebacker Chandler Jones is also set to sign a free-agent deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Williams is coming off an ACL tear so he will have to return to health first, but once he is ready, the duo will help the offense considerably. Williams has been at the Cardinals’ Tempe facility daily doing rehab.
Williams is the better blocker, but showed strides in the receiving game before hurting his knee in Week 5 last season. He was off to the best start of his career, with 16 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown in less than five games. Ertz, meanwhile, tied the franchise’s record for tight end catches in a season playing only 11 games for the Cardinals.
“I’ve never played with Maxx before, but being in the same room as him would be a lot of fun,” Ertz said. “He’s a guy who has been a pro for a long time in this league. He’s made plays consistently, in the pass game and in the run game. I think we are very complementary of one another. He’ll allow me to do the things I excel at, and vice versa.”