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With Jeff Gladney, Dollars Make Sense He'll Likely Play

New cornerback would team with Murphy, Wilson in secondary

The cavalcade of gigantic NFL moves continued Wednesday when the Chiefs traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, further pushing the AFC into chaos.

It's obviously been more quiet around the Cardinals, who clearly have taken a wait-out-the-market approach this year, with the salary cap that much tighter. (As of Wednesday morning, the NFLPA has the Cardinals with $9.2 million of cap space on 59 contracts; only the top 51 cap numbers count in the offseason.)

But it is the contract numbers of one of the new additions -- cornerback Jeff Gladney -- that catch the eye. Not that is is a mind-blowing deal. But with $4 million guaranteed and $3.5M of that this season, it's the best indication (short of an interview with Kliff or Vance Joseph) that the Cardinals are counting on Gladney not only to make the roster this season but also to play a significant role.

It's not a guarantee, of course. Malcolm Butler got a decent contract last offseason, was beaten out by Marco Wilson, and "retired" (Butler has had a couple of workouts of late trying to catch on somewhere in 2022.) But there are expectations Gladney will step up.

There is still time to sign another veteran free agent at cornerback, and drafting one seems probable, at least at this point. Right now though, the top three would be Byron Murphy, Wilson and Gladney, the latter of whom did not play in 2021 because of legal issues (he was acquitted in a trial for assault.) Gladney was a 2020 first-round pick of the Vikings, with a rookie year that was the kind of uneven first year many rookies encounter.

There are still questions about the defense that need some answers over the next six weeks, through the draft. Who is the pass rusher to take the role Chandler Jones once had? Will there be another defensive lineman brought in now that Jordan Phillips is gone? And yes, who will be other cornerbacks brought in?

But Gladney will be in the mix, as the Cardinals prepare for 2022.

New Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney
New Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney