The Arizona Cardinals front office continues to work on signing their draft class and today they announced that third round pick, Rashad Johnson has signed a three year deal.
As usual the financial terms haven't been disclosed but it won't take long for them to leak out so we'll update as soon as we have the information. Johnson is the sixth draft pick to agree on contract terms, leaving only the first two selections in April's draft, Chris Wells and Cody Brown, left unsigned.
Details of the contract: RJ will receive a signing bonus of roughly $490K and includes base salaries of $310,000, $395,000 and $480,000.
To make room on the roster the Cardinals released undrafted free agent wide receiver Shane Morales. Morales faced an uphill battle making the roster not only because he's a reciever on a team stock piled with receivers and he was undrafted but he also missed all of the team's OTA's for the same school conflict that Beanie Wells had to work around.
Johnson was kind enough to sit down for an interview with ROTB shortly after he was drafted and he made it clear that he's ready to help this team win ball games in whatever capacity they see fit:
My expectations are just to come in and play on defense, special teams and just to do everything I can. So if that's coming in and playing the nickel safety, then I happy with that and taking every rep on special teams. So I guess my expectations are just that when I get on opportunity to get on the field, to just play, be successful and be consistent week in and week out.
Johnson figures to become an immediate contributor on special teams this season and could see playing time in passing situations as Antrel Rolle slides down to cornerback or Adrian Wilson slides down to linebacker. Here's what we expected from Johnson early on this season:
It's possible that Johnson could step in and immediately become the Cardinals' third safety and if that's the case he'll receive plenty of time with the regular defense. Given Rolle's ability to slide down to corner in passing situations and Wilson's ability to create havoc around the line of scrimmage the Cardinals third and even fourth safeties get much more playing time compared to other teams. Johnson might be the best fit as the third safety because he's the closest thing to a 'center fielder' that they currently have on the roster and he's capable of playing with the understanding that keeping the play in front of him is more important that providing run support or making plays near the line of scrimmage. That ability to protect against the deep ball, read the quarterbacks eyes and make a play on the ball sets him apart from just about every other safety on the roster. It's also possible that the Cardinals could take it very slow with Johnson as they have with most rookies since Whisenhunt took over as head coach. If that's the case, Johnson could be restricted to special teams play until later in the season.