Cardinals Could Trade David Johnson, Want To Retain Kenyan Drake

We heard a lot of Cardinals news yesterday, including that general manager Steve Keim said the team won’t be cutting running back David Johnson. Releasing Johnson would result in an astronomical $16.2MM dead cap hit, essentially making it impossible. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Johnson will be back in Arizona in 2020, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network cautions (Twitter video link).

Rapoport says that the Cardinals could look to trade Johnson this offseason, looking for a deal where they would eat some of his salary. He also floated the possibility of Arizona attaching a draft pick with Johnson to get a team to take on his deal, similar to what the Texans did with Brock Osweiler a few years ago. Johnson’s reps certainly did a great job negotiating his contract, and it’s now one of the most burdensome pacts in the entire league. Just a couple of years ago Johnson was viewed as one of the best running backs in the league, which earned him a three-year, $39MM deal.

He cratered immediately after signing it, and he struggled with injuries last year. Even when he was healthy he simply wasn’t a difference maker, and the team pretty much completely stopped giving him the ball late in the year. Down the stretch he took a backseat to Kenyan Drake, who the Cardinals acquired in a trade with the Dolphins.

Speaking of Drake, Rapoport also said that the team wants to keep the impending free agent in the desert, either with a new deal or on the franchise tag. Drake dominated during the second half of the season with Arizona, rushing for 643 yards and eight touchdowns in only eight games while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. If the Cardinals aren’t able to work something out with Drake and he walks, maybe Johnson will be able to salvage his career, but right now it looks like he won’t be regaining his featured role in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense anytime soon.

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11 comments on “Cardinals Could Trade David Johnson, Want To Retain Kenyan Drake

  1. Trade him and a draft pick to TB (rejoin Arians) for another draft pick. I think the Cardinals would be stupid to keep Johnson and let Drake walk. One was highly effective and the other was highly inefficient.

    • Scottl

      It isn’t Johnson. If a team can get him the ball in space he can be effective, running him between the tackles with an O-line that can’t create holes is not utilizinghis skillset. I agree, Tampa Bay is the best environment for him but with questions at the QB position and Shaq Barrett being their number 1 priority I don’t see the money working.

      • captainchaos55

        I agree completely….DJ does not fit the scheme with Murray and the line is terrible. People forget just how good he was and I believe still is. He would be a good fit a lot of places. Lions come to mind, as well as Tampa, Miami, KC, Houston, Saints….all with offenses he can thrive.

        • In the games I watched Johnson, I didn’t see it. I hope he’s not done, but he looked slow and obviously the o line didn’t help. When Drake was on the field, you saw a much more effective back. Explosive and elusive. I don’t see Miami going for an expensive RB and I don’t see the Saints prioritizing a RB. TB won’t be the only interested team, but Arians got the most out of him. So seems like the best place for him.

  2. Tazza

    Please Texans …..
    DW4 DHop DJ Johnson

    Swap Will Fuller, 5th rounder and a 7th rounder for David Johnson

  3. kevin

    if u trade em to miami either a draft pick I think that would work out for miami as they got cap space and are rebuilding and it would help az get rid of that salary .

    Drake on the other hand is a good back but not a guy who pounds it he’s more of a electric runner which u need a line for and miami wanted to keep him BUT when he refused to talk contract they had to trade em to get something back before fa hit . and I think if az doesn’t tag him he will test fa he would be stupid not to test fa . but I do not think he’s been a great back this year for az he had a few good games but not enough to franchise tag him just my opinion. 1 game was bout 200 yrs so what 7 games he hit 400 something. but az would be wise to resign him

  4. Don’t commit long term, or big dollars, to a running back. It’s as simple as that. When will teams learn?

  5. Matthew Heywood

    Trade him for what? Who wants an aging injury prone RB? They would be lucky to get a 3rd or 4th round pick .

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