Will Hernandez arrives to play right guard for the Cardinals

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Will Hernandez
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Will Hernandez /

A pressing need for a starting right guard prompted the Arizona Cardinals front office to acquire free agent Will Hernandez.

Just one year ago, the Arizona Cardinals entered the 2021 training camp without a bona fide starter at the right guard position. That will not be the case in 2022, thanks to a solid acquisition made by the club’s front office on Monday.

Arizona announced that they have signed Will Hernandez, a fifth-year pro from the New York Giants, to a one-year contract. The 6-foot-2, 327-pounder has spent most of his NFL career at left guard, but Justin Pugh (another former Giants blocker) has that spot locked up for the Cards.

New York’s coaching staff needed Hernandez to switch to right guard last season, and the veteran made the transition seamlessly. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim apparently took notice and will now be counting on Hernandez to perform just as well on the right side for the Redbirds next fall.

Will Hernandez is the finishing touch on a solid Arizona Cardinals offensive line

The combination of Hernandez and Pugh gives Arizona two solid veterans at the starting guard spots. Both left tackle D.J. Humphries and right tackle Kelvin Beachum will return to man those posts again, with outstanding center Rodney Hudson coming back to anchor the offensive line.

Hernandez is a welcome addition, especially when you consider the Cards’ two options at right guard last year. The underwhelming duo of Max Garcia and Josh Jones shared the job, but neither was particularly impressive at the spot.

Consequently, Garcia reached a free-agent agreement with the Giants on the same day that Hernandez flocked to the desert, a basic flip-flopping of the guards by the two clubs, if you will. For his part, Jones can now focus on being the Cardinals‘ future right tackle, a position that many observers believe is a much more suitable one for the 24-year-old lineman.

The 26-year-old Hernandez was drafted 34th-overall by New York back in 2018. The former University of Texas at El Paso product has appeared in 62 professional matchups and has 56 starts on his NFL resume. Arizona offensive line guru Sean Kugler is familiar with Hernandez from their days together at UTEP, when the Cards assistant was the head coach at the school.

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