Jeff Gladney signs with Arizona Cardinals after jury rules not guilty on assault charge

Cornerback Jeff Gladney, who was found not guilty on a felony assault charge last week, has been signed to a two-year deal by the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced Wednesday.

The Cardinals also re-signed tight end Maxx Williams to a one-year deal.

Gladney, 25, became an unrestricted free agent after he was released by the Minnesota Vikings last August after his arrest in April 2021 on a charge of assault involving a former girlfriend. He was charged with domestic violence, and a lawsuit by the woman alleged that Gladney tried to bribe her and intimidate her into keeping quiet.

The verdict of not guilty returned by a Dallas jury on March 10 was unanimous, according to online court records. If Gladney had been convicted, he could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Gladney joins a cornerbacks room that is in need of depth. After losing Malcolm Butler before last season, Arizona had to play rookie Marco Wilson earlier than it wanted to, which will help this year. The Cardinals also haven't re-signed Robert Alford and want to play Byron Murphy Jr. more in the slot, his natural position.

The Cardinals have other corners such as Antonio Hamilton and Kevin Peterson who can play bit roles throughout the season, but they need corners who can compete for starting jobs and play significant snaps. They currently don't have a clear-cut No. 1 corner, leaving them in a situation similar to the one they were in after Butler suddenly retired.

Gladney could come in and compete for a starting job immediately, especially if he can still show why he was a first-round pick out of TCU. Conversely, being out of football for a year could affect his ability to either make the team or get significant reps.

Gladney, who was a first-round draft pick in 2020 out of TCU, started 15 games for the Vikings as a rookie, making 81 tackles with a forced fumble.

Williams had 16 catches for 193 yards in five games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury Oct. 10.

ESPN's Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.