Cardinals Move Paris Johnson Jr. To LT

Seven years ago, the Cardinals flipped their starting tackles by moving Jared Veldheer to the right side and first-round pick D.J. Humphries to the left edge in their then-Carson Palmer-centered offense. Chosen in the first round eight years after Humphries, Paris Johnson Jr. will be at the center of a Cardinals position revamp up front.

Arizona used Johnson as its right tackle in 2023, but the former No. 6 overall pick is ticketed for the blindside post this season. Jonathan Gannon confirmed the Ohio State product will play on the left side during the offseason program, as a development effort — one that will see free agency addition Jonah Williams continue at right tackle — ensues ahead of Johnson’s second season. Johnson has been working at his new spot since the Cardinals began on-field work this offseason.

Paris obviously playing both, Jonah playing both, but we’ll start there and see how it goes,” Gannon said, via’s Darren Urban. “That’s what they both feel comfortable with right now.”

While noting he holds veto power regarding this effort, Gannon is pointing to another Cardinals tackle switch-up. The above-referenced change occurred after Humphries played right tackle in his de facto rookie year (the 2015 first-rounder missed all of his actual first season). Humphries remained in that post through last season. The Cardinals said they would be open to re-signing Humphries — a March cap casualty — but their recent Johnson-focused announcement makes a reunion highly unlikely.

At this time last year, the prospect of Johnson beginning at guard was in play. The Cardinals employed Humphries and Josh Jones and had just re-signed Kelvin Beachum. But the team slotted its top draftee on the right side. Johnson started all 17 games at RT as a rookie. A move to the left side always seemed in play, with Johnson finishing his college career there and earning first-team All-American acclaim. Johnson played right guard for the Buckeyes in 2022.

This move is perhaps more interesting for Williams, who made a trade request — a Bengals regularity over the past two springs — after the team kicked him to the right side. Cincinnati’s Orlando Brown Jr. signing “blindsided” Williams, though the three-year Bengals LT retracted his trade ask and went to work on the right side. Williams started opposite Brown throughout last season and signed a two-year, $30MM Cardinals deal.

Williams agreeing to terms with a team to play right tackle is notable given the events in his final Bengals offseason. It would also seem easier for the Cardinals to keep Johnson on the right side and install Williams at the position with which he is most comfortable. But Johnson certainly brings higher upside; the team will begin an earnest developmental effort for him to take over as Kyler Murray‘s blindside protector. Pro Football Focus ranked Johnson and Williams 57th and 59th among tackles last season.

Beachum, 35 next month, remains on Arizona’s roster as a swing tackle. The team returns right guard Will Hernandez and center Hjalte Froholdt. Williams’ deal contains $19MM fully guaranteed, covering part of his 2025 salary. The team added Evan Brown in free agency, still rosters Elijah Wilkinson and used a third-round pick on Isaiah Adams. Brown, Wilkinson and Adams are set to compete for the left guard gig, Urban adds. Gannon confirmed the Brown signing will not move the Cardinals to try Froholdt at guard.

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