Cardinals need to check on Stephon Gilmore’s availability

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore /

The veteran cornerback could help the Arizona Cardinals defensive unit get past the unexpected retirement of Malcolm Butler.

The recent retirement of cornerback Malcolm Butler has elicited a somewhat disappointing response from the Arizona Cardinals front office.

Apparently, the sudden loss of the No. 1 cornerback on your depth chart is not something to panic about. The club did add a couple of veterans (Rasul Douglas, Antonio Hamilton) to the practice squad, but neither signing has generated much excitement. Furthermore, was Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury really serious when he said that rookie Marco Wilson can be an adequate replacement for the talented and experienced Butler?

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While Wilson certainly appears to have potential, the fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Florida is far from a sure thing. Especially when a four-time Pro Bowler like Stephon Gilmore could be available for the right price. Would Arizona be willing to make an offer for the 30-year-old starter from the New England Patriots?

Free-agent pickup’s retirement diminishes Arizona Cardinals playoff hopes

If the Cardinals have any hopes of getting to the playoffs this season, the decision to pursue a top-notch cover guy like Gilmore should be a no-brainer. An NFL team that wants to contend cannot lose their best corner just two weeks before the season-opener and do nothing about it. Besides solving the team’s current dilemma at the position, an argument can be made that Gilmore would be a significant upgrade over the 31-year-old Butler as well.

The one negative in orchestrating a trade for Gilmore is the fact that he’s not completely healthy after undergoing offseason surgery for a partially torn quadriceps muscle. The 10th-overall choice of the 2012 draft has been placed on the physically unable to perform list, and he will miss the first six matchups of the 2021 campaign. Even so, the Cards would still have Gilmore for the final 11 regular-season contests plus the postseason as well if they manage to qualify for it.

One of the major positives in acquiring Gilmore is his relatively low salary for the upcoming season. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year is scheduled to earn just around $7 million in 2021. That’s an incredibly affordable number for a cornerback of Gilmore’s magnitude.

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Arizona’s impressive acquisitions over the past few months are blatant proof that management is determined to put an end to the franchise’s five-year playoff drought. However, Butler’s decision to walk away from football has put a substantial wrench into Keim and company’s efforts. Finding a way to bring a defender like Gilmore to the desert is a move that would put the Redbirds firmly back on track.