Entering training camp, it appeared the running back position would be a position of strength for the Arizona Cardinals. After one week, three guys -- Andre Ellington, rookie David Johnson and Marion Grice -- were all sidelined with hamstring injuries. Kerwynn Williams was praised and then he fumbled twice in practice, getting pulled.
On Monday, head coach Bruce Arians told the media he wasn't real happy about the position. He indicated the team would likely be bringing in a back in free agency. "We'll search and see what's available," Arians said, per AZCardinals.com. "I'm just not pleased with what we have right now at that position."
Tuesday morning came the report confirming Arians displeasure. The Cardinals reportedly offered veteran running back Chris Johnson a one-year contract. Johnson, who once rushed for over 2000 yards in a season and last year gained 663 yards on 4.3 yards per carry, is reportedly hesitant to sign with Arizona because he wants to go somewhere he can make the team.
If he comes, it is believed he will compete with Andre Ellington to start, as they have much of the same skill set.
However, if Ellington is healthy and effective and rookie David Johnson returns, who is the odd man out? Would the rookie get pushed back?
In related news, Andre Ellington returned to the practice field. While he downplayed acquiring another back, it is no coincidence that the day the position is called out and the team makes an offer to an established back in the league, Ellington is back on the field.
If Johnson signs, as long as he is healthy, it would likely mean David Johnson is relegated to special teams play and then both Kerwynn Williams and Stepfan Taylor would be competing for a spot on the team. Ellington and Johnson would get the touches on offense.
Johnson is 29 years old and has rushed for over 8600 yards in his seven NFL season. 2014 was the first time in his career he did not reach 1000 yards, but he had a career-low 155 carries. Even so, he gained 4.3 yards per carry.
Ellington, hampered by a foot injury all season and landing on injured reserve after 12 games, gained 660 yards on 201 carries, a paltry 3.3 yards per carry. He did have more than 1000 yards from scrimmage, something he has done each of his two pro seasons.
Would you like to see Johnson on the Cardinals?