Chris Johnson wants to stay with the Arizona Cardinals
By Erich Becker
Running Back went on record that he doesn’t want to chase the money, wants to stay with the Arizona Cardinals
Running Back Chris Johnson, who had his season ended prematurely due to injury, has said that he wants to remain with the Arizona Cardinals even after his one year deal closes out in the next couple of weeks.
FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez, via SiriusXM had Johnson on record:
"They want me back and I want to be back, but you know how the business side is,” Johnson told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “Everything has got to be right for both parties, but I can’t wait for both sides to get started [talking]."
The question is, is this the right thing to do for the Cardinals, in more ways than one? With David Johnson experiencing a breakout year with nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage, and Andre Ellington falling down the depth chart, but still a weapon, as Kent Somers notes, that would be three running backs who do not also play special teams.
When Andre Ellington and Stephan Taylor were drafted in the same draft, Taylor played a change-of-pace role but also excelled on special teams. Ellington, for the most part, has been an offensive weapon, when healthy, but strayed away from playing in the third part of the game.
Our esteemed editor Scott has the Cardinals keeping all three guys, and Kerwynn Williams going into next season, but I have to disagree in some regard. This all rests on what the Cardinals decide to do with Chris Johnson.
C. Johnson rushed for 814 yards and three touchdowns and was near the league league in rushing for a short span of that time. He was paid $870,000 which is a bargain and could of made more due to escalators in reaching 1,300 yards and the Pro Bowl.
Johnson doesn’t want to chase the money, but at the same time he wants to get paid and he showed that, with the right offensive scheme in place, and a good line to run behind, he still had some of the quickness that he showed with the Titans all those years ago (and doesn’t it feel like forever?)
"I still want to get the best deal, but at the same time, I want to be somewhere where we have a chance to win. I feel like Arizona is the best place for me right now."
If the Cardinals bring back CJ2K, it has to be in a backup role to David Johnson who projects to be the starter next year with his gifts and offensive attributes. With a team-friendly contract, Chris Johnson could be back as well, and a fourth back will be brought in to run special teams and change-of-pace (Williams or Stephan Taylor being options). Notice I didn’t say anything of Ellington.
Arizona Cardinals fans have to be sure they manage expectations based on a whole body of work and not just one play. If you ask anyone about Andre Ellington they’ll name an explosive play, such as the run in Seattle this year that sealed the game away, but they may not indicate how little he actually played in 2015.
Andre Ellington rushed for 289 yards on 45 attempts (6.4 yards/attempt) for three touchdowns and added in 15 receptions. That’s a great average, a great weapon, and he comes cheap, at only a projected $1,672,966 cap hit for 2016. But, can you give up the spot on special teams to keep Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington?
That’s the question the Arizona Cardinals will need to ask, or do you bring in a fourth-sixth round draft pick, like David Johnson, who can play multiple roles, maybe is more durable, and maybe you strike late round glory again?