ARIZONA -- The Indianapolis Colts have officially waived LB Shaquille Leonard, and the iron has never been hotter for the Arizona Cardinals to strike on a player that's become available late in the season.
Leonard has seen his play time drop by the week in Indianapolis thus far despite three prior All-Pro nods and a Defensive Rookie of the Year honor to his name. He's played just 70% of defensive snaps this year after playing 93% or more the first four years of his career.
"He's a great servant leader and assisted numerous families in both his hometown and the Indianapolis community," Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. "We're thankful for Shaq and the contributions he made for our organization."
Indy, I thank you 💜 pic.twitter.com/VxMa1VU2IA— Darius Shaquille Leonard (@dsleon45) November 21, 2023
Injuries plagued Leonard in 2022 which saw him play only three games due to back, shoulder, broken nose and concussion issues.
Now, the 28-year-old is hitting waivers, and the Cardinals should absolutely be interested in his services.
Arizona recently lost inside linebacker Kyzir White to a torn biceps injury, landing him on injured reserve that could possibly see White miss the rest of the season too. White led the team with 90 tackles and his absence leaves a massive hole in the interior of the Cardinals' defense.
Leonard is an obvious talent that could help not only fill the void for the upcoming slate of games, but also possibly pair alongside White for quite the dynamic duo moving forward into 2024.
Immediately, he would become a starter and would replace Krys Barnes/Josh Woods in the middle. The Cardinals allowing nearly 26 points per game and part of the problem is the front seven.
Arizona would have to pay him $6.1 million for the rest of the year if they claim him off waivers. The Cardinals should have waiver priority No. 2 after the Chicago Bears thanks to their 2-9 record.