Kenyan Drake is still a member of the Arizona Cardinals. That is, for now. On Monday, at the start of legal tampering, Arizona opted to place the transition tag on their standout running back.
The transition tag, which differs from the franchise tag, is a one-year tender that is set at a fixed amount based on the past market for the position. With the new CBA approved on Saturday, the price tag for a running back such as Drake was projected to be priced at approximately $8.5 Million.
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Cardinals Get No Compensation if Drake Walks
The transition tag entails that the Cardinals will not be awarded compensation if Drake leaves for another team in free agency. Drake can negotiate a long-term deal with another team up until July 22nd. Arizona will have an option of matching the contract Drake finds elsewhere, if they so choose to do so.
Drake was acquired by the Cardinals near the 2019 NFL trade deadline. He notably suited up just days later for an injury-riddled Arizona backfield and ripped off 162 total yards against the much-feared 49ers defense.
Drake didn’t slow down from there, averaging 101+ yards from scrimmage over his eight-game run with the Cardinals a season ago, seemingly entrenching himself as the team’s bell-cow back of the future. However, Arizona has yet to reward him as such.
David Johnson On the Move?
Amidst Drake’s breakout season with the Cardinals, former starting running back David Johnson was deligated to backup duty. With the writing on the wall in Arizona, teams have begun to inquire about the former All-Pro running back.
The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson has reported that the Texans are one of numerous teams exploring Johnson as a possible trade option.
Johnson may have fallen out of favor in the Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense, however, prior to injury he actually performed admirably. Johnson averaged 119.8 yards per game over five of the Cardinals’ first six games in 2019, which actually outpaces Drake’s stellar output upon joining the team.
Johnson finished last season with 715 all-purpose yards (345 rushing yards and 370 receiving yards) and six total touchdowns on 130 touches.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim is aware of the skillset that Johnson can bring to the Cardinals offense, which is why he wasn’t so quick to write off the running back’s return to Arizona next season.
“I think that because of the success that Kenyan [Drake] had and because of the success Chase [Edmonds] had, I think that’s something that will be a chip on his (Johnson’s) shoulder, that he’s going to come back, going to play well.
“And, again, because of his skill set, he’s such a big, talented athlete and we certainly think he can jump right back in and do some good things for us.”