David Johnson (RB)

Cardinals’ David Johnson Skipping Minicamp

Cardinals running back David Johnson is skipping this week’s mandatory minicamp, league sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Still, there have been discussions regarding a new contract and both sides are hopeful that a deal will come together. 

Johnson scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.8MM in the final year of his deal. After losing the 2017 season to injury, Johnson is understandably concerned about his financial security. If Johnson were to suffer another serious injury this year, he would be left without a safety net and a fairly low floor in free agency, despite all of his past accomplishments.

Even if Johnson gets back to his old form, the Cardinals are armed with the franchise tag, which can be used twice over. In a best case scenario, Johnson may be subject to the whim of the organization and under their control through 2020. If the Cards were to use the franchise tag on Johnson twice (a third tag would likely be too expensive to consider), he would not be in line for unrestricted free agency until the age of 29.

By skipping Tuesday’s practice, Johnson will be subject to a fine of about $14K. It then climbs to roughly $28K on Day 2, and $42K on day three. All in all, Johnson may wind up forfeiting $84K+ if he misses all three days this week. That’s chump change for many players, but that’s not necessarily the case for Johnson, who has earned just $2.3MM in salary over the first three years of his career, despite being one of the best running backs in the game.

Johnson was arguably the league’s best offensive player in 2016 as he racked up more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns. He remains one of the NFL’s premier talents at running back, despite missing the majority of the 2017 campaign with a dislocated wrist.

It’s worth noting that Johnson’s lack of service time may prevent him from a prolonged standout with the Cardinals. He could drum up leverage by abstaining from practices, but staying away from the team during the regular season could cost him the games needed to bring him closer to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: David Johnson, John Kuhn, Josh Gordon, Eagles

David Johnson has only played extensively in one of his first three seasons in the NFL. After backing up Chris Johnson as a rookie in 2015, Johnson had a record-setting sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,293 yards and racked up another 879 through the air with 20 total touchdowns. Last year, he was lost for the season after just one game. Despite the relatively small sample size, the Cardinals are committed to Johnson as the center of their offense, and appear ready to lock him up longterm.

Johnson and the Cardinals are likely to get an extension done before the season, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). While Garafolo cautioned there’s “work to be done to get there”, he does believe it’ll get done before the season. The Cardinals clearly saw during his one season as their starter just how special of a player he can be, and want to extend him before he hits the open market at the end of this season.

Johnson reportedly has been sitting out some of the Cardinals’ OTAs with an injury, but a source told Kent Somers of the AZcentral.com that the injury is not serious. Somers added that Johnson is expected to participate in the three-day minicamp the Cardinals will hold next week.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Former Packers and Saints fullback John Kuhn wants to play in 2018 and has received interest from several teams, Kuhn told Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). The longtime Packer fan-favorite said “I’m ready to give it another run, and I’ve been fielding some calls, so I’m just waiting for the right one to give this one more go.”
  • After Duke Johnson signed his new contract yesterday, Josh Gordon is the next Browns player likely to be extended, opines Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. While Grossi says he’ll have to first prove to GM John Dorsey that he can stay on the field, he “can see the Browns rewarding him with a multi-year deal to head off a possible huge payday in unrestricted free agency in 2020.”
  • There’s a four-way battle for two spots among Eagles wide receivers, but Markus Wheaton and Shelton Gibson are the favorites to emerge, thinks Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Gibson writes that Bryce Treggs and Greg Ward Jr. have impressed at OTAs, but that “it is tough to see Treggs or Ward Jr. passing either Wheaton or Gibson for a roster spot.”

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.