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Steve Keim: Cutting David Johnson isn’t an option

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Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake talks about what clicked for him in Arizona, his impressions of Kyler Murray and his upcoming free agency.

After a recent ESPN piece offering predictions for the offseason suggested the Cardinals would cut running back David Johnson, we noted that doing so would be a financial mess for the team.

Johnson is guaranteed a salary $10.2 million for the 2020 season and cutting him would result in a bigger cap hit than keeping him on hand. Given those facts, releasing him doesn’t seem like an idea with a lot of legs even if the Cardinals prefer Kenyan Drake as their top back moving forward.

The guy who gave Johnson that contract agrees. General Manager Steve Keim answered a question about the running back during an appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 Friday by saying that “cutting him is not an option.”

Trading Johnson may be an option, although it would likely call for the Cardinals to eat some salary and could require them to attach a draft pick to make the deal enticing to another club. Keim also said that you can’t have just one back in the lineup and that may lead to Johnson serving as a pricey backup again next season.