Cardinals must decide if Dennis Gardeck deserves a new deal

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Dennis Gardeck
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Dennis Gardeck /

It’s not yet known if the Arizona Cardinals front office has any interest in bringing Dennis Gardeck back to the nest in 2022.

The Arizona Cardinals, like the rest of the NFL, are well aware of what a great special teams performer can mean to a team. A talented wedge-buster is considered an important component of any roster, as evidenced by the fact that two such individuals are voted into the Pro Bowl every year.

Dennis Gardeck, a fifth-year professional, has made a living out of performing that duty for the Cardinals. The 27-year-old, who moonlights as an outside linebacker, is just one of a plethora of Redbirds who’ll be seeking a new contract this offseason. Arizona’s front office will have a limited amount of salary-cap space to work, so Gardeck’s return to the desert in 2022 is far from a certainty.

The negotiations between Gardeck and the Cards management group could turn out to be quite interesting. How much money should be paid to a player whose main contribution to a football team has been with the special teams unit?

Dennis Gardeck stepped up for the Arizona Cardinals defensive unit in 2020

Back in 2020, a season-ending bicep injury suffered by Chandler Jones in Week 5 created a golden opportunity for Gardeck. The 6-foot, 232-pounder stepped in for the star edge-rusher and registered seven quarterback sacks. Gardeck did so while being on the field for just 10 percent of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps, quite an impressive feat.

That ability to get to the opposition’s signal-caller earned Gardeck more time (19 percent of the snaps) with coordinator Vance Joseph‘s defense this past season. Unfortunately, the former University of Sioux Falls product failed to record a single sack this time around. A major disappointment from what Gardeck was able to accomplish just one year before.

On the bright side, Gardeck’s glowing reputation as a special teams demon is still intact. Cards general manager Steve Keim should be well aware of how important those types of players are to a winning organization’s success. The logical step would be to bring the popular Gardeck back into the nest for at least a couple more campaigns.

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