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Cardinals leave door open for a D.J. Humphries return

Last week, the Cardinals released tackle D.J. Humphries. On Wednesday, they left the door open to bring him back.

Via the team's official website, G.M. Monti Ossenfort told reporters that Humphries could return, under the right circumstances. And it was clear that they only let him go because he suffered a torn ACL late in the 2023 season.

"We got to spend a year with D.J. and . . . our team is better for it," Ossenfort said. "It is really unfortunate with the timing of the injury, for us as a football team and obviously for D.J. on a personal level. The salary cap and the way things are set up and the way contracts work, it put us in a very tough situation. I can't say enough about how I feel about D.J. as a football player and more so as a person. His energy, and the leadership he brought to this team, we are certainly going to miss him. I hope nothing but the best for him in his recovery and his rehab."

A first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2015, Humphries will have to rehab the injury on his own. Once he's healthy and ready to return, he could be back.

"Who knows what is going to happen down the line?" Ossenfort said. "I would have zero hesitation in bringing D.J. back. The worst part about this league is injuries. It struck a guy that meant a lot to this organization."

The move underscores the fact that, without contractual security, teams won't hesitate to move on from even the most valued employees. It's another reason why players should get everything they can while they can, and to push for as much guaranteed money as possible.

The moment the team concludes the player is no longer worth what he's due to make, he's gone. If he's not protected by a contract that gives him no way out, but that lets the team tear it up at will.