The Arizona Cardinals needed to make upgrading the offensive line a priority heading into the 2018 off-season. They got a jump start in doing so in a low-risk trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gilbert has been a mainstay for the Steelers offensive line since 2011, but the team will be parting ways with him presumably due to his age (31), and extensive injury history (missed 20 games last two seasons).
However, when healthy, Gilbert is one of the better right tackles in the NFL. In 2016, Gilbert played in 13 games for the Steelers and finished the year with an elite Pro Football Focus grade of 78.5. Since then, he has seen trouble staying on the field due to injuries and a failed PED test. This resulted in a 68.5 grade in 2018, good for 41st in the NFL.
But Gilbert should be fairly comfortable with the Arizona Cardinals, as there is one major familiar face in the desert — former Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who coached Gilbert during his rookie year. Likely, Kugler played a major role in acquiring the 6-6, 330-lb right tackle.
This trade projects as a low risk, high reward one for Steve Keim’s Cardinals. Trading for a starting level tackle for just a late sixth-round pick could be considered highway robbery for some. Gilbert is also on a cheap contract, as his cap hit is just $4.9M for just one year, per Over The Cap.
There isn’t a better value on the market than this trade. Acquiring a cheap, starting level right tackle for a late round pick rarely happens. But Keim did it and filled a team need in doing so. This trade is nothing but an A+ in my book.