Arizona Cardinals offense will regress without Kenyan Drake

The Arizona Cardinals offensive unit improved dramatically when the explosive running back was acquired by the team last season

The Arizona Cardinals, like most NFL organizations, have a boatload of decisions to make this offseason. One of the biggest dilemmas facing general manager Steve Keim centers around the running back position. Kenyan Drake will be entering the free agent market next week, and there are a contingent of fans who believe that the Cards will be just fine without the former Miami Dolphin.

Perhaps Drake’s detractors should take a closer look at the situation. Arizona’s scoring attack showed vast improvement when the talented ball-carrier joined the squad last October. In just eight games, Drake rumbled for 643 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, and averaged a sparkling 5.2 yards per carry.

There are those who believe that David Johnson, who’s under contract with the Cardinals for one more season, can still get the job done. However, the 28-year old has been just a shell of the player who looked like a star in the making back in 2016. Johnson appeared to be running in cement at times in 2019, and obviously lacked the explosiveness that Drake displayed on a consistent basis for the Cards.

Finances could play a huge part in the scenario with Drake. Arizona is essentially hamstrung by the three-year, $39 million contract they signed Johnson to back in 2018. The 28-year old is due to count over $14 million against the team’s salary cap this coming fall, and cutting him would leave over $16 million in dead money.

The Cardinals also have Chase Edmonds, a third-year back out of Fordham University, vying for playing time. During a week-seven victory over the New York Giants last October, the 23-year old showed promise by amassing 126 yards and three scores on the ground. Edmonds still has two campaigns left on the rookie deal he was inked to in ’18.

Next: Decision looms on wideouts

While Johnson and Edmonds are certainly worthwhile options, it’s Drake who appears to be tailor-made for Kliff Kingsbury‘s “Air Raid” offense. The 6’1, 224 pounder will be looking to be paid handsomely, and rightfully so, for what he accomplished with the Cards in ’19. Arizona’s front office should already be aware of the fact that Drake will be well worth the investment.