Arizona Cardinals RT Justin Murray signs exclusive rights tender

Apr 2, 2020, 10:25 AM

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals right tackle Justin Murray on Thursday signed his one-year exclusive rights tender offer that the team extended to him on March 17.

That officially locks in Murray for the 2020 season, where he could compete with veteran Marcus Gilbert for a starting role. Gilbert is an unrestricted free agent who was brought back despite coming off a season-ending ACL injury.

Exclusive rights free agents have two or less accrued NFL seasons and cannot negotiate with other teams once their original team extends a tender.

“He’s a guy we’re excited to have back,” Keim said of Murray at the NFL Draft Combine. “He worked his tail off in the weight room and he did all the things (offensive line coach Sean Kugler) wanted to see in the film room. He is a guy we think can continue to grow and get better.”

Murray was a waiver pickup Sept. 1 last year and ended up starting at right tackle in Week 1, his first start as an NFL player. With injuries to Gilbert (88 games, 87 starts) in the preseason and then Jordan Mills during the year, Murray made 12 starts and appeared in 14 games.

He only has 16 total games of NFL experience and has played for the Bengals, Raiders, Broncos, Buccaneers and Saints since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

With Murray and Gilbert returning, the Cardinals have given themselves more flexibility in the first round of the NFL Draft. They draft eighth overall, and while a starting-caliber right tackle could be had on the board, they can now consider other positions as a possibility without worrying as much about their starter opposite left tackle D.J. Humphries.

Arizona announced the Murray tender offer on the same day they extended one to restricted free agent Zane Gonzalez, who can still negotiate with other teams.

That and starting center A.Q. Shipley’s unrestricted free agency are among the notable in-house items of note as the offseason continues forward.

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