Over the past nine months or so, fans of the Arizona Cardinals have been clamoring for the front office to acquire a second-string running back. Those pleas were answered on Wednesday, when general manager Monti Ossenfort claimed intriguing youngster Michael Carter off of the waiver wire. At long last, the Cards brought in a ball-carrier who can provide some legitimate depth behind injury-prone starter James Conner.
What that means for the rest of the backs in the Arizona locker room is anybody's guess. It's safe to say that the organization wasn't blown away by any of those individuals. If they were, Ossenfort and his cohorts would've likely took a pass on acquiring the talented Carter.
The one Cardinals employee who seemed to be on his way to earning the backup gig behind Conner was undrafted rookie Emari Demercado. Unfortunately, a toe injury suffered in Week 8 seems to have taken the impressive 24-year-old out of the mix. Only time will tell if Demercado has done enough to convince the Redbirds hierarchy that he's worth keeping around.
Future looks cloudy for a trio of Arizona Cardinals running backs
One member of the group who will likely be playing elsewhere in the near future is second-year back Keaontay Ingram. The Cards gave the 6 foot, 221 pounder a shot to show what he can do, but the ugly 2.2 yards per carry he's averaging will not keep him in the NFL for very long. It's difficult to envision the Arizona braintrust thinking it would be a good idea to retain Ingram after the current campaign concludes.
Stashed on the Cardinals practice squad are a pair of veteran ball-carriers who have absolutely no future with the franchise. Corey Clement, a 29-year-old with 850 career rushing yards, has yet to see the playing field in 2023. Tony Jones Jr., a fourth-year pro out of Notre Dame, has touched the rock just six times this fall for "Big Red".
As for Conner, the 6 foot 1, 233 pounder is under contract through the 2024 campaign. There's been speculation that the 28-year-old may not be back with the club next season, despite the fact that the Pennsylvania native remains as productive as ever. Ossenfort and company need to put any financial concerns aside, and focus on what the Cards rushing attack can accomplish with both Conner and Carter toting the rock going forward.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)