The reason it is a small defeat is because that was the upper limit of a potential new David Johnson contract, meaning the Cardinals could point to the fact that Johnson has only one season on par with Bell, and therefore could work down from a salary standpoint.
Instead, with Bell turning down the deal looking for a bit more guaranteed money, it means the Cardinals and Johnson will fail to have a framework in mind if and when they get back to the negotiating table.
Instead, Johnson will be waiting to get a new contract he deems fair, while there is no market for what he or his agent are asking for.
No, with Bell playing the season on the franchise tag at $14.5 million, it incentivizes Johnson to wait until the last day he can hold out, come into camp, play on his rookie salary and then do it all over again in 2019 when the Cardinals only recourse will be the franchise tag if they don't cave to his salary demands.
Resetting the running back market is tough, but Bell and now Johnson seem ready to do just that.