David Johnson (RB)

Cardinals’ David Johnson Cleared By Doctors

Cardinals running back David Johnson has been given full medical clearance, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter). He’ll be ready for Arizona’s full slate of offseason workouts.

[RELATED: Brice Butler Signs With Cardinals]

Johnson was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he posted more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. He remains one of the NFL’s premier talents at running back, but his health was a question mark this offseason after he missed the majority of the 2017 campaign.

Johnson told the media that he was fully healthy back in January, but new head coach Steve Wilks indicated at the owners’ meetings that he had yet to get the full green light from doctors. In recent days, Johnson got the go-ahead.

Johnson will now return to an offense spearheaded by a different veteran quarterback. Carson Palmer is gone and in his place is the talented, yet injury-prone, Sam Bradford. Should Bradford suffer another malady, the Cardinals have Mike Glennon as a backstop.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Seahawks, Cardinals, OBJ

The Seahawks are now without stars Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Jimmy Graham, and Sheldon Richardson as well as up-and-coming wide receiver Paul Richardson, but GM John Schneider is insistent that the team is not in rebuilding mode.

It’s just always very, very hard to make those decisions to move on from people, but that’s what we have to do in order to be a consistent championship-caliber football team,’’ Schneider said (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). “We don’t want to be having these major rebuilding years. We want to be able to have little re-sets, if you will.”

Last year, the Seahawks went 9-7 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It certainly feels like there’s a changing of the guard in the NFC West thanks to the Rams, but Seattle will push to get back on top this year, despite the cap crunch.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals’ head coach Steve Wilks said he expects doctors to clear running back David Johnson (wrist) in time to be ready for OTAs (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Johnson was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he posted more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns.
  • The Cardinals don’t have any interest in Odell Beckham Jr., according to Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM (on Twitter). As good as OBJ is, the Cardinals are wary of his contract situation. The wide receiver is slated to earn about $8.5MM in 2018, but he’s pushing for a new deal that would put him at the top of the market for his position. That may mean a salary of $17MM per year or more.

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

NFC Notes: Cardinals, Giants, Fangio, Vikings

David Johnson is doing his part to keep the Cardinals‘ offense together. Since he was last on the field, Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer retired. And Larry Fitzgerald isn’t certain to come back for a 15th season. Johnson, though, tried to coax Palmer into a 16th slate — one for which he was under contract.

I think Carson’s done,” Johnson said on the Pro Football Talk PM Podcast (via PFT’s Mike Florio). “I’ve talked to him. I was trying to get him to come back just because he was another person who was very impactful not just on the field but also off the field. I was trying to recruit him to come back but I think his mindset is [to retire] — and I definitely understand where he’s coming from.”

Johnson was more bullish on Fitzgerald’s chances of coming back following another 100-reception, 1,000-yard campaign.

Larry is going to come back,” Johnson said, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. “He’s still playing at a high level.”

Johnson told Florio he hopes the team and his representation can begin negotiations on a new contract but added he remains focused on his rehab process.

Here’s the latest from the NFC:

  • Vic Fangio‘s new Bears contract is a three-year agreement, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com reports. The veteran DC said he had “a lot” of options but chose to stay in Chicago because he’s confident in Matt Nagy‘s direction for the team. Fangio said he won’t be gaining more defensive responsibility under Nagy than he had under the defensive-oriented John Fox, per Dickerson, because Fox gave him full autonomy to run the Bears’ defense.
  • Eli Manning and Dave Gettleman met recently, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post reports. While the new Giants GM described this as a “great conversation,” he added “I don’t want to go there” when asked about if the parties reached any closure about Manning’s status following the summit. Schwartz adds the Giants are “very likely” to select their quarterback of the future with the No. 2 overall pick.
  • The Giants are still likely to reach out to Patriots OC Josh McDaniels on Monday to see if he’s committed to becoming the Colts‘ HC as has been reported, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. A source told Vacchiano that McDaniels would be the favorite if all of their finalists wanted the job, although Vacchiano reports a Giants source also described this year’s HC candidate pool as “uninspiring.” Pat Shurmur remains in line to become Big Blue’s next HC.
  • While it still sounds like Joe Berger has a maximum of two NFL games left, the Vikings guard (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) said he won’t decide until March or April if he’s done after this season or not. Berger said before the season he was likely to retire after 2017 and added one of the reasons he decided to come back was Mike Remmers‘ addition. “My thought is that this is it, but I’m not going to try to make that decision now in the middle of all this,” Berger said. Pro Football Focus graded the 35-year-old blocker as the No. 15 NFL guard this season.
  • Conversely, the Vikings winning a Super Bowl would not seem to dissuade Terence Newman from coming back for a 16th season and what would be his age-40 campaign. Newman said he’s optimistic he can remain an impact player in 2018, were he to decide to come back. “Let’s just say, hypothetically speaking, that I was able to (win a Super Bowl), then why not try to get two?’’ Newman said, via Tomasson. “You can look at it at both sides.” PFF graded Newman as a middle-of-the-pack corner this season. Newman’s playing on a one-year contract.

Cardinals’ Johnson, Palmer Done For Season

The Cardinals were hoping to get at least one of David Johnson or Carson Palmer back before the end of the season. On Wednesday, coach Bruce Arians announced that a return to action is unlikely for both players. In fact, no one on Arizona’s IR has progressed all that much in rehab, Arians says, and that group includes rookie running back T.J. Logan."<strong

At 4-6, the Cardinals’ odds of making the playoffs are not all that strong, but it will be even tougher to sneak in without two of their most important offensive players. The odds calculator at Football Outsiders gives the Cardinals just a 0.4% chance of reaching the postseason.

Johnson was among the league’s best offensive players last year with more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns. The Cardinals swung a surprising trade for Adrian Peterson before the deadline, but the veteran has not been able to replicate his production.

Recently, Palmer expressed optimism that he could return at the very end of the season.

I could potentially be available the last two weeks of the season,” Palmer said earlier this month. “Who knows? I don’t know where I’ll be (with rehab) at that point. I don’t know where we will be as a team at that point. I just try to be as ready as I can as quick as I can.”

The 37-year-old (38 in December) will probably weigh retirement this offseason. If he does decide to play, there is a contract in place for 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ David Johnson Done For Year?

At one point in time, the Cardinals hoped to have David Johnson back on the field by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now, it sounds like he’ll miss the whole holiday season. Coach Bruce Arians “doubts” that Johnson will return this year (Twitter link via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic).David Johnson (vertical)

[RELATED: David Johnson Says He Has Yet To Start Rehab]

Johnson recently admitted that he was unsure of his recovery timetable, so Arians’ comments do not come as a total shock. The Cardinals do not want to rush one of the game’s most talented ball carriers back on the field, and it’s certainly not worth the gamble given the way the season has gone.

The Cardinals are currently 3-4 and without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, so their playoff chances are looking pretty remote. Football Outsiders gives Arizona just a 0.7% chance of reaching the postseason with Johnson on the shelf and Drew Stanton filling in for Palmer.

Johnson, 25, was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he posted more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. With Johnson sidelined, the Cardinals first turned to a committee of Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, and Chris Johnson, but have since acquired veteran running back Adrian Peterson from the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cardinals RB David Johnson

Placed on injured reserve in early September after undergoing surgery for a dislocated wrist, Cardinals running back David Johnson admitted on Friday he isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return to the field, according to Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM.David Johnson (Vertical)

“I hope I do get back, but I really don’t know,” Johnson said. “The wrist is a complicated limb and it’s tough to say, just because I still have this cast on. I haven’t even started rehab so I don’t know yet.”

The wording of Johnson’s answer is somewhat alarming, given that the third-year back is seemingly unsure if he’ll be allowed to play again this season. The NFL’s injured reserve rules stipulate a minimum eight-week absence, but Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said a best-case scenario for Johnson entails a Thanksgiving return.

Regardless of Johnson’s health, the Cardinals could conceivably hold him out for the rest of the year, especially if the club isn’t in playoff contention. Football Outsiders gives the Cards just a 0.7% chance of earning a postseason berth, and a trip to the playoffs looks incredibly unlikely now that quarterback Carson Palmer has joined Johnson on IR.

Johnson, 25, was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he posted more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 total touchdowns. With Johnson sidelined, the Cardinals first turned to a committee of Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, and Chris Johnson, but have since acquired veteran running back Adrian Peterson from the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cardinals RB David Johnson

The Cardinals have a new running back in Adrian Peterson and it sounds like they’re going to be leaning on him for a while. The “earliest” that Johnson could conceivably return to the field is around Thanksgiving, coach Bruce Arians tells SiriusXM NFL Radio (link via Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic). David Johnson (vertical)

[RELATED: Cardinals Acquire Adrian Peterson From Saints]

The Cardinals take on the Texans on Nov. 19, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, before facing the Jaguars the following week. Only under the best of circumstances will we see Johnson in uniform by then. In theory, Johnson is eligible to come off of IR for Nov. 9 against the Seahawks, but that’s apparently not in the cards.

On the plus side, Johnson says everything is going according to plan so far.

Rehab’s going great,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Just got my cast. Feeling good.”

Last year, Johnson was the Cardinals’ top offensive weapon as he totaled over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns. The Cardinals are hoping that Peterson can recapture some of his old magic and restore some of what Johnson provided to the offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Kap, Savage, Browner, Johnson

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is working out five days a week and is back to his 2013 weight, 230 pounds, as he awaits a potential NFL opportunity, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. Thanks partially (perhaps entirely) to his social activism, Kaepernick hasn’t garnered a single offer since he and the 49ers parted ways in March. While the 29-year-old would like to resume his career, he’s not saying it publicly because he worries that doing so would lead to further claims that he’s a distraction, Florio suggests.

More from around the game:

  • After insisting throughout the offseason that Tom Savage would be their starting quarterback in 2017, the Texans bailed on him just one half into a 29-7 Week 1 loss to Jacksonville in which their offensive line imploded. The Texans have since turned the reins over to first-round rookie Deshaun Watson, a decision Savage’s agent, Neil Schwartz, spoke with Florio about on Wednesday. As you’d expect, Schwartz isn’t pleased with the move. “I watched all 31 plays, because that was the extent of what Tom saw in the first half,” Schwartz said. “And I can’t figure out why he’s benching Tom. I went through every single play and I even went one step further. I asked two different NFL personnel people (or) coaches on two separate teams to evaluate and break down the film to see if I was missing something. He went 7 for 13 … 12 of the 13 balls touched the receiver’s hands. The only ball that didn’t was the strip-sack fumble that they called incomplete (upon replay). Seven were completions, five were drops” (all of Schwartz’s comments are available here via the Houston Chronicle’s Greg Rajan). Schwartz does have the backing of Pro Football Focus, which ranked Savage’s season-opening performance 15th among 31 signal-callers. Watson came in last.
  • Having not played in the NFL since his dreadful 2015 showing in New Orleans, free agent cornerback Brandon Browner is obviously facing an uphill battle to return to the league. The odds of the ex-Seahawks star making a comeback look even worse now, as Browner was arrested in Los Angeles on Monday on felony charges of making criminal threats to a woman, TMZ reports. The two-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t drawn any known interest since the Seahawks released him in August 2016 (even after playing in the the Spring League this year), and that probably isn’t going to change.
  • The Cardinals are hoping to get running back David Johnson “back by Thanksgiving or Christmas,” coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM. The initial word on Johnson’s wrist injury has been that he could be out for two to three months. Arians’ timetable seems to jibe with that.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cardinals’ David Johnson To Have Wrist Surgery

Cardinals running back David Johnson will undergo wrist surgery this week, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. He’s expected to miss between two and three months of action. The Cardinals will place him on IR with the hope that he’ll be able to return during the season.

Sunday will represent Johnson’s first missed game as a pro, and while the Cardinals — who are now signing Chris Johnson — have some veterans who will take over, none are on David Johnson‘s level. While David Johnson sat behind both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington as a rookie in 2015, he’s taken massive leaps as the latest Arizona third-round success story.

David Johnson must spend at least eight weeks on IR, so Week 10 would profile as his earliest return window. The Cardinals play both Seahawks games in the second half, with Week 10 being the NFC West contenders’ first meeting.

The Cardinals hoped the second opinion Johnson sought could prevent this, but AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban categorized the attempt as a “hail mary” (Twitter link).

The 2016 first-team All-Pro was Arizona’s top weapon and its most reliable factor in making a potential playoff return. But this changes the Cardinals’ season before Week 2 even begins. The third-year back totaled over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns last season.

In addition to Ellington and Chris Johnson, the Cardinals employ Kerwynn Williams — who’s functioned as a backup in Arizona for four seasons — and just signed D.J. Foster off the Patriots’ practice squad. Arizona also has 2016 UDFA Elijhaa Penny, although with CJ2K now back in the fold, this five-running back setup may not last — especially now that David Johnson will be on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.