Right tackle is hoping to remain Arizona Cardinals starter

Justin Murray will be attempting to rise up over the competition for the Arizona Cardinals starting right tackle gig in 2020

Just days before the 2019 season-opener, the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals suffered a devastating loss. Marcus Gilbert, a right tackle who was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, suffered a torn ACL. The unfortunate incident occurred during a practice, and would force the Cards to insert a relative unknown into the starting lineup.

Justin Murray, a free agent pickup from the Oakland Raiders, would be Gilbert’s hand-picked replacement. The 6’5, 304 pounder had been with the club for merely a week, and had just two appearances on his NFL resume. Murray received a crash course in the squad’s newly-implemented “Air Raid” offense, and had just two days to prepare for the opening game.

After starts against the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens, Murray was replaced by the Cardinals in week three. Jordan Mills, a veteran who joined the organization after Gilbert was injured, would man the right tackle spot for Arizona in their contests with the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks. Murray was back in the lineup, however, after Mills was placed on the injured-reserve list in October with a knee ailment of his own.

By the end of the year, Murray had logged 12 starts for the Cards. The former undrafted free agent more than held his own, and even showed improvement as the season went on. Did Murray, who was inked to a one-year exclusive-rights tender this past April, play well enough in ’19 to earn Arizona’s trust going forward?

Apparently, the Cardinals front office wasn’t impressed. Back in March, Gilbert was brought back on a one-year deal, presumably to be the starter. A month later, the Cards added even more competition to the mix by selecting the highly-touted Josh Jones during the third round of the 2020 draft.

At the current time, Murray is behind both Gilbert and Jones on Arizona’s depth chart. The 27-year old will need to shine extremely brightly in the coming months to win back the starting job that he claimed last year. One thing’s for sure, the battle for the Cardinals right tackle gig will be one of the most interesting stories of this summer’s training camp.