NFL Free Agency: Richard Marshall Out, William Gay In, Looking For Value At Corner

There were plenty of fans disappointed when former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Richard Marshall signed a three-year, $16 million contract with the Miami Dolphins. He played very well for the Cardinals in 2011, playing cornerback and even safety. Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton even called him the defensive MVP because of the versatility he had on the field.

Arizona was unwilling to pay him as much as Miami -- Marshall even called up the team himself asking them to match the offer -- and he moved on.

Now, the Cardinals have added former Steelers cornerback William Gay to fill the role that Marshall held. And it only cost them less than $4 million for two years, rather than three years at $16 million.

Arizona clearly was looking for value at the position. With Greg Toler returning from knee surgery and already withPatrick Peterson, A.J. Jefferson, Michael Adams and Crezdon Butler in the fold, it seems unwise to invest that much in a role player.

Both Marshall and Gay are similar in build. Gay is an inch shorter at 5-10 and is eight pounds lighter at 190 pounds. Both are 27 years old.

Both can play safety. Both are very good tacklers. Marshall logged 78 in 2011, while Gay had 61.

Marshall had three interceptions to Gay's two. Marshall also had a pair of sacks. Gay had none.

While Marshall would seem to be the better player on the whole, the two are very similar. They do many of the same things. The biggest difference is the paycheck now. Marshall is being paid starters money. He was not expected to be a starter in 2012.

What the team needed was value. In Gay, that is exactly what they get -- a player who can do what Horton wants and is familiar with the defensive schemes -- at a pay rate that matches his expected reserve role.

Would it have been nice to have brought back Marshall? Would it have made sense? Probably not.

You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.

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