Affordable running back options for the Arizona Cardinals

Kenyan Drake‘s contract demands could propel the Arizona Cardinals to search for a cheaper option at the running back position

For the past season and a half, Kenyan Drake has been a productive part of the Arizona Cardinals scoring attack. General manager Steve Keim certainly deserves kudos for the trade that brought the former Miami Dolphins running back to the desert. Keeping Drake in the nest for the 2021 campaign, however, could prove to be a bit more difficult for the Cards front office.

COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the sports world, and the NFL has not escaped it’s wrath. Instead of increasing this year, the league’s salary-cap could possibly dip to $175 million. That number could leave Arizona with around $13 million to play with in the coming months, a miniscule amount for a team with so many needs.

That being said, Drake could turn out to be a luxury that the Cardinals won’t be able to afford. With the capable Chase Edmonds already under contract, management could look for a more affordable backfield mate for the fourth-year ball-carrier. The following are a few free-agent possibilities who Keim and his cohorts could pursue this offseason.

Tevin Coleman, a 27-year old veteran, could be an intriguing option for the Cards. The 6’1, 210 pounder, who’s coming off of an injury-plagued campaign with the San Francisco 49ers, can be a solid contributor to an offense when healthy. Coleman, a former Atlanta Falcons draft pick, could find a role with Arizona as a viable complement to Edmonds.

Mike Davis, a 5’9, 216 pounder, is coming off of a fine season with the Carolina Panthers. The 27-year old, filling in for an injured Christian McCaffrey, posted the best numbers of his six-year professional career. In 15 appearances (12 starts) for the Panthers this past fall, Davis amassed 1,015 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns.

Eighth-year ball-carrier Carlos Hyde would also be a good fit with the Cardinals. The 30-year old journeyman appeared in 10 games for the Seattle Seahawks in ’20, totaling 356 yards and four scores on the ground. Hyde has also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars since he entered the NFL back in 2014.

One more back who the Cards could kick the tires on is Malcolm Brown, a 27-year old from the Los Angeles Rams. In 70 career contests (two starts), the 5’11, 222 pounder has accumulated 1,515 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns. Brown could be looking to move on from a crowded Rams backfield that already includes Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson.