Arizona Cardinals giving Marcus Gilbert another opportunity
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals front office is bringing back the offensive tackle who’s knee injury cost him the entire 2019 campaign
This past Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals front office made a somewhat surprising move. Marcus Gilbert, an offensive tackle who was acquired in a trade 12 months ago, was brought back on a one-year deal. The 6’6, 330 pounder missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and the general feeling was that the Cards would move on from the injury-prone Gilbert.
There were several reasons to believe that the club would find another way to fill the vacancy at their right tackle post. For one, various ailments had caused Gilbert to miss a bunch of playing time over the past few campaigns. In fact, the 32-year old has appeared in just 25 of a possible 64 games since 2016.
Besides the injury factor, many fans of the Cardinals strongly believed that the organization would look to next month’s NFL Draft for an alternative to Gilbert. There could be as many as four blue-chip offensive tackles for the franchise to choose from when they make their selection in the first round. It’s a group that includes Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr.,Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton.
The fact that the Cards elected to bring back Justin Murray also made the retaining of Gilbert a bit of a head-scratcher. The 26-year old Murray held his own as the squad’s starting right tackle in 2019, and could likely do so again if Arizona really needed him to this coming fall. The $3.75 million that Gilbert will earn with his one-year contract almost guarantees that he’ll get the nod over Murray on the team’s 2020 depth chart.
Perhaps Cardinals general manager Steve Keim is just plain determined to get some payback on the investment he made in Gilbert a year ago. In March of ’19, a sixth-round draft pick was sent to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the veteran’s services. Gilbert’s season-ending knee injury robbed Keim and the Cards of any rewards they could’ve reaped by making the trade.
The presence of Gilbert could certainly make Arizona go in a completely different direction with the draft’s eight-overall selection. Perhaps a player who could help them on the defensive side of the ball will be the choice. We’re now just weeks away from finding out what the Cardinals decision-makers will do with their valuable pick.