Justin Pugh
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh has agreed to a contract with the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo Credit: New York Giants/Twitter)

A lot of NFL teams with new quarterbacks have shifted their focus to protecting those new signal-callers. The Arizona Cardinals are no exception. After making deals for QBs Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, Arizona’s next move – signing offensive lineman Justin Pugh – shouldn’t come as much of a shock. The total for Pugh’s deal, five years and $45 million, might be a bit surprising, but the Cardinals can spare no expense in their effort to keep Bradford upright and clean.

Pugh was a 2013 first-round draft pick (19th overall) of the New York Giants out of Syracuse University. He has spent his first five NFL years in New York, playing a combination of both tackle positions as well as some left guard. His versatility is clearly something teams desire, especially the Cardinals.

Pugh ended 2017 on the Giants’ IR with a bad back. However, surgery was not needed in his recovery. And clearly, the Cardinals don’t think it’s much of an issue anymore, although backs can (understandably) be enough to make teams shy away from signing offensive linemen to long-term deals.

Despite Justin Pugh’s 2017 ending prematurely, he’s managed to stay relatively healthy throughout his career. Until last season, he played in all 16 games as a rookie in 2013, 14 games each in 2014 and 2015, and 11 regular season games in 2016.

His effort in 2013 led to him being named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team. Pugh has earned a total of 63 starts in his NFL career. Arizona will hope for many more as Pugh brings the potential for stability and reliability along the Cardinals’ front.

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