Running back David Johnson’s decision to boycott the Arizona Cardinals’ mandatory minicamp should not be considered a surprise
Some minor alarm sirens were set off at the Arizona Cardinals’ voluntary OTA sessions last week. The last thing that fans of the Arizona Cardinals wanted to hear was that David Johnson was sidelined. There was more than enough of that last season, when the running back missed 15 games with a wrist injury.
But there was Johnson, standing off to the side, while his teammates were flying around the practice field. The reason for the star’s lack of participation was not immediately known. We now know what that was all about.
As the Cardinals gathered for a “mandatory” minicamp this week, Johnson elected not to join them. His boycott of team activities will continue until the 2015 third-round draft pick is handed a new contract. According to reports, a new deal is being negotiated at this very moment.
Sure, naysayers will criticize Johnson for the holdout. Some will point out that the 26-year old currently has a deal with the club. They’ll contend that the agreement should be honored by Johnson and his agent, Jonathan Perzley.
That sort of thinking could be looked at as short-sighted, however. Ongoing research is revealing that life after football can be a living hell for a countless number of ex-players. The human body is not built to endure the constant pounding it takes during a playing career, and many have found that out the hard way.
With all of that in mind, is it wrong for Johnson to make sure he’s being properly compensated for the risk he is taking? The shelf life of a running back in the NFL is historically short. By league standards, the $1.8 million Johnson is scheduled to make this year is extremely low for a player of Johnson’s caliber.
The Cardinals need to get the extension for Johnson done as soon as possible. Making their best offensive weapon feel happy and contented should be a priority for the front office. Arizona got a taste of what life is like without Johnson in 2017, and they certainly don’t want to experience that again.