Marcus Gilbert might've been playing better than any other offensive lineman for the Cardinals when he tore his ACL in practice just a couple of days before the 2019 regular-season opener.
The Cards will try to recapture that scenario in 2020, after agreeing to bring back Gilbert on a one-year contract Thursday – and opening wide what the Cardinals could do with the eighth overall pick in the draft.
Also official Thursday: running back Kenyan Drake, who had already said on Twitter he was going to sign his transition tag tender offer of $8.4 million, officially signed his contract. He can still negotiate a long-term contract with the Cardinals through mid-July.
The Drake deal solidifies the starting running back. Gilbert's decision could move the Cards closer to knowing they have a starting right tackle on the roster. The Cardinals now have Gilbert and Justin Murray – who ended up starting 12 games at right tackle last season following Gilbert's injury – as potential starters.
There is still the chance the Cards could take a tackle in the first round of the draft, although with their acquisitions of Gilbert, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, defensive lineman Jordan Phillips, edge rusher Devon Kennard and inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, the Cardinals have filled all the needs they faced heading into the new league year.
Gilbert, 32, played the first eight years of his career with the Steelers before arriving in a trade in March last year. Entering the last year of his contract, Gilbert was locked into the lineup until his injury. A knee injury also kept him out of all but six games in 2018 prior to last season.
The deal is worth $1.05 million in salary with $150,000 guaranteed, according to overthecap.com.
"I still know I have a lot ahead of me," Gilbert said in February while rehabbing at the Cards' facility. "I don't want to hang it up too soon. I know what type of player I am."