The Arizona Cardinals can address their need for a number-one cornerback by adding veteran Stephon Gilmore to the 2022 squad.
The first two weeks of the NFL’s free-agent signing period have come and gone, and the Arizona Cardinals still have a need for a number-one cornerback. Several of the league’s premier cover guys have already been signed to new contracts, but there’s one talented corner who’s still looking for a new home.
Stephon Gilmore, a five-time Pro Bowler, would look fantastic in a Cardinals uniform. There’s no word on whether Steve Keim, the organization’s general manager, has even inquired about the veteran. So it begs the question, would the Arizona front office be doing its due diligence if they haven’t at least kicked the tires on the 31-year-old Gilmore?
Of course, finances could be playing a part in the Cards’ apparent lack of interest in Gilmore. According to Spotrac.com, the club has just over $7.3 million in salary-cap space at the present time. The current lack of funds, however, should not preclude Keim from attempting to land a player who would greatly improve the Redbirds’ secondary.
The Cardinals could gain the necessary cap room by working out an extension for their starting left tackle. D.J. Humphries will count an eye-popping $19.3 million against the team’s salary cap in 2022. Coming to an agreement with the 28-year-old Humphries on a new contract would almost certainly free up the money it would take to get Gilmore into the fold.
Arizona could also add a couple of “voidable” years to any deal they could potentially work out for the 6-foot-1, 202-pound cornerback. By doing so, Keim could push the bulk of the salary-cap hit to the back-end of the contract, “phantom” years that Gilmore wouldn’t even be around for.
Stephon Gilmore would be an excellent fit for the Arizona Cardinals defense
At the moment, the Cards’ top three cover guys are Byron Murphy, Marco Wilson, and the newly-added Jeff Gladney. Out of the trio, Gladney is the oldest at just 25 years of age. It stands to reason that an experienced performer like Gilmore would be welcomed with open arms by the defensive coaching staff.
Gilmore was drafted with the 10th-overall selection by the Buffalo Bills back in 2012, after an impressive stint at the University of South Carolina. In his five campaigns with the Bills, “Gilly Lock” racked up 226 tackles, 14 picks, and 62 pass breakups.
In March of 2017, Gilmore left Buffalo to sign a five-year, $65 million deal with the New England Patriots. The corner took home Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019, tallying 53 tackles, six interceptions (two pick-sixes), and 20 pass breakups for the Patriots.
During October of last season, New England traded Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round choice in the 2023 draft. In his eight appearances (three starts) with the Panthers, the South Carolina native registered 16 tackles, two picks, and two pass breakups.
Could Arizona be the next destination for the lockdown cornerback? It’s not too late for Keim to add Gilmore to a defensive backfield that so desperately needs his help.