Long-term deal for Johnson top priority for Cardinals

The Sports Xchange

June 14, 2018 at 2:14 pm.

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said the team plans to reward David Johnson as the running back seeks a contract extension.

Johnson elected against showing up for mandatory minicamp this week as he pursues a more lucrative contract. He is set to make a base salary of $1.8 million in the final year of his rookie deal this season.

“I don’t think there is any question David is one of our core players and someone we look forward to having a long-term future with,” Keim said, via the team’s website. “(It’s) no different from in the past, when we’ve rewarded players like Pat Peterson, Chandler Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, just to name a few.

“There’s no doubt in my mind moving forward that we will keep a positive outlook and again, look forward to rewarding him just like we have players in the past.”

Johnson has an Aug. 7 deadline to report to training camp in order to secure the accrued season needed to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The 26-year-old is eligible to be fined $84,435 for not taking part in the three practices in minicamp.

Johnson is expected to be a big part of the offense in 2018 after missing nearly the entire 2017 season with a dislocated wrist sustained in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions.

A third-round draft choice out of Northern Iowa in 2015, Johnson burst onto the NFL scene by joining Gayle Sayers as the only rookies with at least four rushing and four receiving touchdowns along with a kick return for a scorer.

Entrenched as the starter in 2016, Johnson rushed for 1,239 yards and amassed 16 touchdowns. He also caught 80 passes for 879 yards and four scores at Arizona had the league’s sixth-highest scoring offense (26.1 points).

However, the injury in the 2017 season opener revealed Johnson’s impact on the offense — the Cardinals averaged nearly eight points fewer than in 2016.