Cardinals will need a contingency plan at running back in 2022

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Rashaad Penny
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Rashaad Penny /

The uncertain status of James Conner and Chase Edmonds will require the Arizona Cardinals to have a plan B at running back.

When it comes to the running back position, no one would blame the Arizona Cardinals for wanting to be greedy. Both James Conner and Chase Edmonds are headed for free agency, but the team and its fans would absolutely love to have both ball-carriers back in 2022.

Having the pair involved in the offense made moving the football and scoring points a whole lot easier. Kliff Kingsbury, the squad’s play-caller, benefited in a big way when he had the combination of Conner and Edmonds to utilize. A couple of weeks ago, the head coach reiterated how important the duo is to Arizona’s success.

"“They both earned good deals as far as I’m concerned. I hope that we can afford both guys because they both had fantastic seasons and they deserve to get nice contracts. I think they compliment each other really well in our system so that’s how I hope it plays out.”"

Unfortunately, the NFL’s salary-cap restrictions could prevent the Cards from hanging on to Conner and Edmonds. General manager Steve Keim will need to have a contingency plan in place if one or both of the free agents elect to leave the desert.

Arizona Cardinals will have to look elsewhere if their top running backs leave

The Cardinals will have some attractive options to choose from if the running back spot suddenly needs some replenishing. Plenty of intriguing individuals who make a living carrying the rock are scheduled to hit the free-agent market next month.

Leonard Fournette racked up 1,266 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. In two campaigns with the Denver Broncos, Melvin Gordon tallied 2,275 yards from scrimmage and 20 scores in 31 appearances (26 starts) for that franchise.

Sony Michel ran for 845 yards and four touchdowns in 17 regular-season games (only seven starts) for the Los Angeles Rams this past year. Rashaad Penny rumbled for 749 yards and six scores on the ground while averaging an eye-popping 6.3 yards per carry in just 10 contests (six starts) for the Seattle Seahawks in 2021.

Arizona’s management team will have their work cut out for them this offseason. Figuring out a solution for the running game will certainly rank as one of the organization’s more pressing issues this spring.

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