New York Jets sign cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

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The New York Jets reached a contract agreement with their first pick in the 2022 NFL draft Saturday, signing a deal with cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Adam Schefter of ESPN was among the first reporters to announce the deal. Gardner, the fourth-overall selection in the 2022 NFL draft, signed a four-year, fully-guaranteed rookie deal.

The team also announced the deal on social media:

Gardner parlayed his impressive career at Cincinnati into the top five of the 2022 NFL draft, becoming the second cornerback drafted after Derek Stingley Jr. came off the board third-overall to the Houston Texans. He was one of New York’s three first-round selections, along with Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson II.

He drew comparisons to cornerback Richard Sherman, leading many to believe that Gardner would be an ideal fit for Jets head coach Robert Saleh. Even Sherman himself saw the similarities between his game and the new Jets defensive back.

Gardner’s length, ability to play on an island in man coverage, and how well he changes directions for a player of his size, made him into a top selection in the 2022 NFL draft. Those traits, plus his fit with Saleh’s defensive philosophy, might make him a mainstay in the New York secondary for years to come.