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Warner thinks Cards’ David Johnson is walking fine line with contract talks

(AP Photos)

Hall of Famer and former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner knows about NFL contracts and disputes.

He understands that players, especially those on rookie deals, often outperform their pay.

Yet Warner said when he signed his deals, he would play them out.

“When you want to stand for something, it’s always a tough spot,” he said Monday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta. “I was always a firm believer that I signed a contract and I was willing to perform under that contract, even if I outperformed what the contract was, because that was part of the deal.”

Cardinals running back David Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp as a tactic to get a contract extension. It is unclear where the two sides are in terms of negotiation.

It’s clear production outweighs the pay: When healthy, Johnson has been far superior than a typical player on his contract level.

He has made a little over $2.1 million over his first three years, according to OverTheCap.

Coming off injury with a year left on his contract, the running back wants a raise on his $1.88 million base salary this season.

Teammates support him, too.

It’s simply business on both sides, safety Antoine Bethea told ArizonaSports during minicamp.

“Players, we band together, we understand what it’s all about,” Bethea said. “He’s a hard worker, one of the good guys — the great guys — so we’re not worried about that.”

Newcomers have the same attitude.

“As players, we all understand it. We all get his position,” quarterback Sam Bradford told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug and Wolf on June 14.

Warner said he understands the logic.

“A lot of guys outperform (their rookie contract),” Warner said. “Guys like David Johnson and (Giants wide receiver) Odell Beckham suffer injuries and so you want to be taken care of and you want to sign the long-term deal and you want to get what you’re worth.”

Johnson is reportedly healthy from the wrist injury that kept him out of 15 games last season.

Warner thinks that if Johnson is back on the field quickly, there won’t be much alienation of the running back’s fan base – the general public is aware that the running back is worth more than what he’s getting paid.

Where the distance between the player and fans could come in: How far will Johnson take the holdout?

“I think at some point, you get to the place where it’s, ‘Do I have to do what’s best for me at this point or I do what’s best for the team at this point?'” Warner said. “When you get to that point and the decision that you make oftentimes can lead to how other people see it, and especially the fans.”

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