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Report: Cardinals ‘unlikely’ to release David Johnson

David Johnson, Cardinals
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson entered the 2019 season viewed as one of the NFL’s top running backs and ended the year on the bench. Despite the underwhelming season, the Cardinals are not expected to cut Johnson this offseason.

Josh Weinfuss, who covers the Cardinals for ESPN, made a bold prediction that the Cardinals would part ways with Johnson this offseason. Speculation immediately took off that Arizona could cut the 28-year-old running back. According to The Arizona Republic’s Jeremy Cluff, that simply isn’t going to happen.

Johnson opened the year as Arizona’s top running back but lost the job in November after the team acquired Kenyan Drake. While Drake made explosive plays as a runner and receiver, Johnson averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and racked up 715 total yards on 130 touches.

The Cardinals want to bring Drake back this offseason and could make it happen with more than $50 million in cap space.

Johnson is still in the middle of the three-year, $39 million extension he signed with Arizona in 2018. As a result, he carries a $14.25 million cap hit this season and the team is stuck with $16.2 million in dead money if they cut him.

Ultimately, the Cardinals will either keep Johnson for the 2020 season or include draft picks to entice a team to take on his contract. He is still a talented player and with the money he is already owed, cutting him is out of the question.