The Arizona Cardinals went 3-13 in 2018. That was good enough to give them the worst record in football, and the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With that pick, Arizona selected quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is giving them hope, and Arizona improved significantly in 2019. Hopes are high and there is a clear vision in place.
The Cardinals could soon be on the rise, and one of the more exciting teams in the NFL. However, with an improvement like that, you have to expect roster changes.
Players suddenly don’t fit into the team’s schemes or plans for the future anymore. Maybe it’s as simple as a younger player taking their spot, or it could be something else.
With that in mind, changes will be happening soon for the Cardinals. Who could be gone, though? Here’s a player that could be cut this offseason that might surprise some people.
Okay, this might not surprise some people at all. To other’s it might sound ridiculous. That’s where we are at with Johnson right now.
Looking at the numbers, and the fact that the Cardinals seemed to really sour on him as the year went on. Appearing in 13 games, Johnson had just 94 carries for 345 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also had 36 receptions for 370 more yards and four more touchdowns.
Johnson simply hasn’t been the same since the injury in 2017.
It also does not help that the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake during the season. Oh, and Drake severely outplayed Johnson during that time.
Then there is the money of it all. Arizona has a lot of money going into Johnson. Over a $14,000,000 cap hit in 2020 and a $12,000,000 cap hit in 2021.
Johnson has clearly lost the starting role. Moreover, he’s lost the confidence the team once had in him. It’s not wise to keep someone around that’s taking up that much money in your cap just to be the backup running back.
For comparison, Adrian Peterson entered the year as a backup for the Washington Redskins. He ran for over 1,000 yards the year before. In 2019 he had 898 yards and five touchdowns on 211 carries (4.3 yards per carry). He also had 17 receptions for 142 more yards in the air.
Peterson’s cap hit in 2019 was under $2,000,000. If the contract isn’t opted out of, he will make under $4,000,000 in 2020.
That’s a team that had a much worse 2019 season than the Cardinals, and they were spending their money much wiser at the running back position. Imagine if Arizona can free up all that space and find their version of Peterson. An inexpensive veteran that can still go.
That money can then be used to find some help on the offensive line or in the secondary. Maybe even getting Murray another weapon.
Johnson has some great years with the Cardinals. And not long ago was considered one of the best running backs in football. There’s a chance he returns to that glory. However, he’s far too expensive for the Cardinals anymore.
Arizona has found a new running back. And that type of money shouldn’t be spent on a backup, even at quarterback, let alone running back.
It’s time the Cardinals move on from Johnson. Cutting him this offseason will help them financially, and allow the running back to find a new home quickly.