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Cardinals’ David Johnson’s contract will make it tough to release him

David Johnson, Cardinals, Texans

Earlier this week, ESPN compiled an article that highlighted some predictions that could happen and David Johnson being released by the Arizona Cardinals made the list. Despite some fans taking the prediction to heart, Johnson’s contract is going to make it tough to release him.

Before the 2018 season, the Cardinals handed Johnson a three-year, $39 extension. Furthermore, the $10.2 base salary for Johnson is fully guaranteed in 2020 and he holds a cap hit of $14.1 million next season.

Therefore, the Cardinals are already stuck with Johnson’s salary in 2020. Even if another team signed him upon his release, Arizona would have to pay him the difference that he makes for another team. Also, if Johnson was released, he’d induce a $16.2 million dead-cap penalty.

Given that, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Cardinals to release the dual-threat running back. However, Arizona could attempt to trade the former third-round pick. In the event that a trade occurs, the Cardinals would pay part of his salary while the other team pays the rest.

Over the past two seasons, Johnson has carried the ball 352 times with an average of 3.7 yards per attempt. With how Johnson has performed in recent seasons, it would be wise for Arizona to re-sign Kenyan Drake.

Ahead of the 2019 trade deadline, the Cardinals acquired Drake from the Miami Dolphins. In just eight games with the team, Drake amassed 814 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.

Of course, if the Cardinals can find a trade partner, they should consider any offers. But with Johnson’s expensive contract, it could be hard to part ways with him any time soon.