The Arizona Cardinals are banged up at the running back position this season with both David Johnson and D.J. Foster dealing with injuries.
On Monday morning, the Cardinals addressed their shorthanded backfield by acquiring Kenyan Drake from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2020 conditional sixth-round draft pick, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The pick can become a fifth-round pick if the conditions of the deal are met.
The Cardinals lost another running back on Sunday in Chase Edmonds to a hamstring injury. With Arizona already scrambling to sign Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris last week, the need for a quality receiving and rushing threat out of the backfield was heightened.
And fortunately for the Cardinals, they were able to swing a deal for Drake. The fourth-year back did not travel with Miami for the Dolphins’ Monday night game against Pittsburgh and reports surfaced on Sunday he would be traded by the deadline on Tuesday.
Drake is in the final year of his rookie contract with a $2 million cap hit and will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
It’s an interesting deal for a Cardinals’ team not viewed as a contender in a logjammed NFC West. Currently in the division basement, Arizona’s trade for Drake isn’t one made with the future in mind.
Where Drake Fits on Depth Chart
Assuming David Johnson is healthy enough to play the rest of the 2019 season, Kenyan Drake would provide a perfect complement to Johnson’s power running ability. Drake is a shifty back who can break off long runs with his downfield speed.
With Johnson as the primary rusher, he would receive the bulk of the handoffs while Drake could help chip on the edge in a two-back set. Drake would also see a lot of time in play-action as a check-down for Kyler Murray. Throughout his career, Drake has been a strong pass-catching back and his move to the NFC West should help this facet of his game.
Behind Johnson and Drake, D.J. Foster could be a useful third-string back in short-yardage situations and to switch things up from the taller Drake in the receiving game. Edmonds and Zenner could platoon as backups with Morris likely to be released unless Johnson’s injury is serious enough to warrant placing him on injured reserve.
Fantasy Impact of the Drake Trade
Drake and Kyler Murray could potentially combine with Johnson to form a lethal backfield triumvirate for Arizona this season. But the question is how much will Drake be involved with Arizona’s running game.
Certainly a talented back, Drake will have to earn his touches if Johnson is healthy. If not, Drake will be thrust into the primary back role immediately on his arrival. And with free agency looming, Drake will look to make the most of his opportunity to prove he deserves a big-money contract for the next few seasons.
He could look at this trade as a fresh start and an audition for next season to show he can work well in diverse offenses. Drake will likely get a ton of touches off the bat and will be one of the Cardinals’ key offensive contributors.