Cardinals still need to address the No. 2 running back spot

MIAMI GARDENS, (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) David Johnson
MIAMI GARDENS, (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) David Johnson /

The departure of Chase Edmonds back in March left the Arizona Cardinals with a hole at the number-two running back position.

The Arizona Cardinals had one heck of a one-two punch at the running back position last season. Both James Conner and Chase Edmonds entered the offseason as free agents, but only Conner was retained.

Edmonds departed for the Miami Dolphins, and the Cards have yet to find a replacement for the multi-threat ball carrier. Will the squad elect to roll with an in-house candidate to fill the spot, or will general manager Steve Keim sign a free agent who can complement Conner?

It’s an extremely youthful group that currently sits behind Conner on the Cardinals depth chart. Jaylen Samuels, a 25-year-old who has suited up for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans, is the most experienced of the bunch. Samuels has accumulated 468 rushing yards, 564 receiving yards, and five total touchdowns in the 45 NFL contests he has dressed for.

Former Arizona State University standout Eno Benjamin performed fairly well in the limited action he saw for the Redbirds last fall. Jonathan Ward, an undrafted free agent who joined the franchise in 2020, is in the mix as well. Two rookies, USC’s Keaontay Ingram and Fresno State’s Ronnie Rivers will also compete for playing time.

Arizona Cardinals could look to free agency for a number-two ball-carrier

There’s also a chance that Arizona’s front office could look to the free-agent market to fill the void they have at running back. Darrel Williams, a 27-year-old from the Kansas City Chiefs, visited the Cards last month. The 5-foot-11, 224-pounder left the desert without a contract, but he has not yet found employment.

David Johnson, a third-round draft choice of the Cardinals back in 2015, would be an intriguing addition. Other possibilities include Devonta Freeman, Alex Collins, Devontae Booker, Phillip Lindsay, and Justin Jackson.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was hoping that Keim could find a way to keep both Conner and Edmonds, but salary-cap restraints prevented that from happening. Edmonds will be missed, but there are a multitude of running backs who could take his place in the “Big Red” backfield.

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