Sauce Gardner, Jets Agree to Fully Guaranteed 4-Year Rookie Contract

Erin WalshMay 7, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 28: Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati, poses for photos after being selected as the number four overall draft pick by the New York Jets during the NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sauce Gardner is officially a New York Jet, putting pen to paper on a four-year, fully guaranteed rookie contract, the franchise announced Saturday.

The Jets selected the 21-year-old with the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He was the first of three first-round selections New York made on Day 1, the others being wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II.

Gardner told reporters after being drafted that he was ready to get down to business.

"I'm just going to keep working hard so that way I'll be able to handle those tough tasks, you know," he said. "... I'm one of the guys that it's easy to get along with me. I don't feel I'm too good for anyone. I make sure I inspire others and lead by example. So I feel my personality will fit in well with New York."

It's no surprise the Jets made Gardner their first selection this year after SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported in early April that the franchise had "heavy interest" in selecting the standout cornerback.

The Detroit native played his college football at Cincinnati and was widely considered the best available CB in this year's draft class. He helped the Bearcats earn a berth in the College Football Playoff and finished the 2021 campaign with three sacks, three interceptions, four passes defended, 40 tackles and five tackles for loss.

Gardner is expected to become a starter immediately in a rather thin New York secondary. He sits atop a depth chart that includes Bryce Hall, Jason Pinnock, Rachad Wildgoose, D.J. Reed, Brandin Echols and Michael Carter II.