If there is one area in which Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has excelled recently, it has been in getting good value for players that he has traded away, whether that is actually recognized or not by those on the outside.
Starting with Martavis Bryant in 2018, each player he has given up has yielded compensation arguably worth beyond the value of the player. Getting a third-round pick from the Oakland Raiders was a remarkable haul. And even the late sixth-round pick received earlier this year for Marcus Gilbert should be considered a win.
Though he is at the very least a top-10 right tackle when he is healthy, Gilbert has—well—rarely been healthy in recent years. He was also in the final year of his contract and had a pretty substantial cap hit, but for a player in need of a right tackle, it made sense, and so the Arizona Cardinals—knowing they would be drafting a quarterback—picked him up to try to shore up their offensive line.
Unfortunately, the same pattern has repeated itself, as Gilbert, heading into his ninth season, has now suffered the most serious injury of his career, tearing his ACL. He was placed on the Reserve/Injured List. the 31-year-old suffered the injury in practice on Thursday and was inactive for the Cardinals’ opener.
Gilbert will be a free agent at the age of 32 healing from an ACL tear in March, with a length injury history that has seen him play in only 12 games in total over the past three years. That is not a good outlook for him. It’s certainly not impossible that he calls it a career after this.
You’ve got to feel bad for the guy, given the nature of everything that has happened to him. He opened up back in May about the difficulties that he had gone through emotionally concerning the injuries that he has suffered, as well as the subsequent perception of him.
In spite of his frequent injuries, however, he has always maintained that they were freak occurrences and that he would be able to escape the next one. The truth is that he has never had chronic sorts of injuries. By and large, he has just had really bad luck.
“Once I get on the field, I’ll have my play speak for itself”, he said back in May. Unfortunately, he never got the opportunity to do that in 2019. “I feel like I have a lot of time left”, he added, also saying that he was looking forward to taking on a bigger leadership role, which he couldn’t really do in Pittsburgh with Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster entrenched in leadership roles along the offensive line.
I hope you’ll join me in wishing Gilbert the best and hoping that he is able to resume his career and play a full, healthy season for some team in 2020. Given that he just tore his ACL in September, it will be cutting it pretty close for him to be healthy enough for teams to get a good look at him in March, however, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he has to wait a while before he gets an opportunity. Good luck to you, Marcus, if you happen to see this.