Will Cardinals part ways with David Johnson?
David Johnson had a disappointing season in 2018 after he returned from a wrist injury, but many believed he was poised for a breakout this past year in new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s innovative offense. That did not happen, and it would not be a surprise if Johnson is playing for a team other than the Arizona Cardinals next season.
Johnson had just 715 total yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 13 games this season. That is disappointing production, to say the least, for a player who signed a three-year, $39 million extension at the start of the 2018 season. With Johnson owed a base salary of $10.2 million in 2020, ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss predicts that the running back will be released by Arizona this offseason.
Johnson’s $10.2 million salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the new league year, which is March 20. Unless Kingsbury has big plans for Johnson, it makes no sense to pay him like one of the top running backs in the NFL.
The Cardinals would probably like to bring back Kenyan Drake, who exploded for them down the stretch after they acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. However, Drake’s breakout over the final weeks of the season may have earned him a big payday in free agency. The 26-year-old rushed for 363 yards and scored seven touchdowns over Arizona’s final three games. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry through that span.
Johnson is still just 28, so he should attract significant interest on the open market if the Cardinals decide to release him.