NFC Notes: Cards, Abdullah, Redskins, Eagles

As their second-round pick approached in the 2015 draft, the Cardinals were in the midst of informing running back Ameer Abdullah over the phone that they were going to take him 55th overall. However, as shown on the new Amazon documentary series “All or Nothing,” the Lions traded a spot ahead of Arizona during the Cardinals’ discussion with Abdullah and stole the ex-Nebraska standout at No. 54 (link via Steven Ruiz of USA Today). With their Abdullah dream dashed, the Cardinals waited to address the position until the third round, selecting ex-Northern Iowa runner David Johnson 86th overall. Johnson emerged as a key member of the Cardinals’ offense as a rookie, totaling 1,038 yards (581 rushing, 457 receiving), averaging 4.6 yards per carry and piling up 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four receiving). Abdullah, with 780 yards (597 rushing, 183 receiving), 4.2 YPC and three scores (two on the ground, one in the air), wasn’t nearly as successful in 2015.

More from the NFC:

  • If the Redskins are going to lock up franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline, it’s going to take roughly $60MM in guarantees – $35MM of which would need to be fully guaranteed – and a $20MM average annual value, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry (Twitter link via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan). Such a deal would place Cousins sixth among quarterbacks in guarantees, tying him with MVP Cam Newton, and just outside the top 10 signal-callers in yearly value. As of now, it appears likely Cousins will play this season under the $19.95MM franchise tender.
  • The biggest question facing the Eagles as the season nears is how rookie head coach Doug Pederson will fare, opines Dave Zangaro of Pederson – previously the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator – didn’t seem to be the Eagles’ top choice, notes Zangaro, who adds that other teams weren’t beating down his door for interviews. Pederson is off to an encouraging start, though, given his rapport with the Eagles’ players, Zangaro contends. Nevertheless, Pederson’s worth as a coach will come down to how he handles in-game situations.
  • Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff had a terrific rookie season after switching from right tackle last summer, starting all of the club’s games, missing only one snap and ranking as Pro Football Focus’ 26th-best performer at guard among 81 qualifiers. Expectations for Scherff are significantly higher in 2016, though, considering he was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft and is now entering his second year at the position, write Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
  • Earlier Friday, the Bears added a quarterback.
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