As Arizona Cardinals superstar running back David Johnson pursues 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in 2017, he's also got another thing on his mind.
Johnson, who rushed and received for over 2,000 yards last season, said he hopes Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell gets a fat contract extension.
“I hope he gets the deal he deserves,” Johnson told MMQB. “I hope it’s going to be the type of deal that cornerbacks get and quarterbacks get.”
"The only other player with Johnson’s diversity of skills is Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell, who this spring was slapped with a $12.1 million franchise tag and has one week remaining to figure out a long-term deal with the Steelers. Johnson, of course, has an interest in these negotiations. Bell’s contract will help set the top end of the running back market. Johnson’s deal expires after the 2018 season," wrote MMQB.
"There are problems with Johnson’s situation, which he’s aware of but doesn’t fret about. For starters, he’s simply underpaid. Arguably the most valuable non-quarterback offensive player in football, he has a 2017 salary (including prepaid bonuses) of almost $800,000. In 2018, his salary is just south of $900K. Johnson is worth about 15 times that much. But such is the nature of a rookie contract. Teams who can find stars in the mid-rounds of the draft (Johnson was a third-rounder) gain a huge financial advantage. The player’s second contract eventually corrects things," added MMQB.
Johnson, 25, will be 27 when he next contract extensions come around. That's awfully close to that "30" number that NFL coaches are afraid of.
But Johnson feels like his position group is ready for a value renaissance of sorts:
“I feel like, especially now, with the running backs we have in this league, we’re going to definitely change the mentality of the running back and those contract deals. We’re going to definitely make it (understood) that running backs are more important than you’d think. Everyone thinks it’s a passing league, but I think running backs are starting to show up and show out and prove that you need a good one to be a capable team," he said.