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David Johnson’s contract has league wide ramifications

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David Johnson will hold out until a new deal is done.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-Minicamp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

David Johnson missed the teams final OTA with an undisclosed illness. That “illness” turned out to be a case of Holdout-itis. Johnson has now missed the teams first two Minicamp practices and is likely to miss the third and final on Thursday.

Everything has been touched on. From fans being upset, to fans understanding that at 27 this is likely the only big contract deal he will receive in the NFL. What is just now being brought up is the effect this will have on the league.

Currently, Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman has the leagues highest salary at $8.25 million per year.

As we sit today, there are three big name running backs all jostling for the big contract at the end of the tunnel. David Johnson is unlikely to get the biggest of the three, he did after all miss the majority of the 2017 season. Le’Veon Bell has the best shot, but don’t sleep on Todd Gurley’s chances.

Lets start by looking at all three players 2018 & 2019 salaries:

David Johnson $1.9 million salary, 2019 no contract

Todd Gurley $4.4 million salary, 2019 5th year option @ $9.6 million salary

Le’Veon Bell $14.5 million salary, 2019 no contract

The Rams currently have the best position to be in monetarily. They have their guy for a whole season before they have any need to rush to get their deal done. Arizona and Pittsburgh are in a tight spot.

Bell will reportedly not be taking any deal that offers him less than 1$4.5 million a season from the Steelers. That number would put him well above anyone else in the league. However, neither side seems to be nearing a deal and this 2018 season could see the end of Le’Veon Bell in Steelers colors.

Todd Gurley and the Rams have not publicly announced they have been in talks, but Gurley went on record back in April stating he has no intentions of holding out for a new contract, and that he is willing to wait his turn for an extension. The Rams are in no position financially to address his contract this year, so a 2019 offseason will be key.

This leads us to the Cardinals. Johnson doesn’t have the luxury of being either of these two players. He turns 27 prior to the end of the season. Bell turned 26 back in February, and Gurley will barely turn 24 in August. He is nearing a decline in his career that the other two players don’t have to look at yet. Financially he has made significantly less than the previous two players as well.

But just how much will David Johnson cost?

Spotrac.com has a very useful tool in their “Market Value” tab. Currently based off their algorithm, Johnson is in the ballpark of a four year deal with an average salary of $9.2 million. That’s a number I have seen tossed around by both fans and Cardinal writers. The number is fair when you look at his age, and how productive he has been in his career.

You can find both Bell’s and Gurley’s as well.

Getting David signed now is the teams best course of action. It’s always been better to be proactive in these situations than reactive. You get your star running back locked up for a good portion of his career, and let the rest of the league figure out what they need to do with their guys. If the Cardinals signed Johnson to something in the ballpark of Spotrac’s prediction, Gurley will likely look to make more than that.

Setting the market at the running back position is important when it comes to their financial security, and developing a successful unit around Josh Rosen moving forward.

What say you? Are you upset that Johnson has elected to hold out? Or do you think he’s doing the right thing financially? Discuss below.

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