The Arizona Cardinals addressed a position of need on their offensive line when they traded for right tackle Marcus Gilbert.
Don’t look now, but the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals once again needs fixing. Despite the fact that he played left guard in college, general manager Steve Keim can’t seem to put together a viable blocking unit. An acquisition made this past Friday, however, could be a step in the right direction for the Arizona executive.
The trade that Keim orchestrated for right tackle Marcus Gilbert appears to be a good one for the Cardinals. For the extremely reasonable cost of a sixth-round draft pick, the club received a solid veteran who registered 87 career starts for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not a bad addition for a squad that had a profound need for a bookend on the right side of their O-line.
Gilbert, like many others around the NFL, became a salary cap casualty. The Steelers felt that it was better for them to move on from a 31-year old who was scheduled to make $4.8 million this coming fall. They instead managed to find a trade partner in Keim, who was more than happy to take Gilbert off of their hands.
There are a few red flags associated with Gilbert, including the fact that the former second-round pick missed 11 games last season with a knee injury. In 2017, the 6’6, 330-pounder missed five contests with a bad hamstring and another four after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Yet another injury, this time to his ankle, caused Gilbert to sit out three matchups back in 2016.
The Cards apparently believe that they’ll be getting the Gilbert who gave Pittsburgh so much during his first few campaigns in the league. Despite his having to deal with the bum ankle, Pro Football Focus listed the former Florida Gator as the 13th-best offensive tackle back in ’16. Two seasons earlier, in 2014, Gilbert was ranked 10th among right tackles in pass-blocking efficiency by PFF.
Arizona’s offensive line was among the worst in football last season. If the Redbirds wish to contend in 2019, that will obviously need to change. Adding a talented blocker like Gilbert to the roster is an excellent way to start the process.
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