David Johnson provided Arizona Cardinals fans and fantasy owners a sigh of relief on Monday.
The 2016 All-Pro running back attended an early session of Cardinals training camp and had nothing but positive words about a contract situation that had led to speculation of a holdout.
“I’m here to play football,” Johnson told azcardinals.com. “I trust my agency, Sportstars, and I know they’ll get it done when the time comes.”
Johnson enters 2018 season vastly underpaid
Johnson, 27, is on the last year of his rookie deal paying him $1.9 million this season, well below his market value as a game-breaking back.
Increased attention has been given to the short careers of running backs, the best of whom usually see steep performance declines by age 30, increasing the urgency to lock up guaranteed money in their primes.
Johnson’s peers have made calls for better paydays
Le’Veon Bell, 26, recently failed to reach a long-term deal with Pittsburgh Steelers when he and his agent weren’t happy with the guaranteed money on the table.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley suggested a 2020 lockout after watching the NBA’s top free agents sign deals in excess of $150 million in guaranteed money.
“Us NFL players, we’re just mad about NBA contracts right now, that’s all,” Gurley told the L.A. Times. “I just want like $80 million. Those guys are getting like $150 [million]. It’s crazy. It’s insane.”
Johnson is not taking as aggressive an approach as his peers. For now, at least.
“The Cardinals want me to play for them for a long time, and I want to be here for a long time,” Johnson said. “So definitely things are going in a positive way.”
Johnson looking to cash in on breakout 2016 season
Johnson is coming off a 2017 season that was cut short in Week 1 when he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. He had a breakout 2016 season where he tallied 2,118 total yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns.
But for now, it appears that Johnson doesn’t feel an urgency to further leverage his contract negotiations by withholding his services.
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