‘I feel like my agent did a great job’: Cards RB Johnson talks new contract
Less than a week ago, Arizona Cardinals running back Johnson signed a three-year, $39 million extension with $30 million guaranteed, making him the third-highest paid active running back in terms of guaranteed money.
Before signing the deal, Johnson sat out of the team’s mandatory minicamp while awaiting a new contract. He did, however, return to the team for training camp.
Though he was ready to return to football in the offseason, Johnson said his agents helped him make the right decisions.
“I talked to my agents, and they know what’s best for me,” Johnson told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “And talking to them, we made the decision, and we got the deal.
“I feel like my agent did a great job. I feel like the deal we got done was the best deal that I could get.”
Returning from injury
A year ago, Johnson missed the entire season because of a wrist injury, but because it wasn’t a leg injury, Johnson said he was still in great shape.
“I was probably in the best shape of my professional career because all I was doing was lifting,” Johnson said. “I was still getting upper-body workouts. I was in great shape, I just couldn’t get on the field.”
Even though he was in top shape, Johnson said his first significant injury of his career was a weird adjustment.
“Last year was super weird,” Johnson said. “I’ve never been out basically a full season like that. I think the biggest thing is I felt like I wasn’t even a football player anymore.”
Week 1 woes
As a whole, the Cardinals didn’t get off on the right foot to start the 2018 season Sunday, losing to the Redskins, 24-6. In the loss, the Cardinals accumulated just 213 yards of total offense, and Johnson scored the lone Arizona touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Although Johnson was the only Cardinal to score, Johnson put the blame on himself for the ugly defeat.
“It’s not that our defense was so bad, we couldn’t convert on third downs, and I was a big blame for that,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t doing my routes right or I wasn’t blocking long enough to help Sam (Bradford) have the eyes downfield to throw it to an open receiver.”
To have more success as the season progresses, Johnson said he needs to work on being more attentive.
“My attention to detail (needs to improve),” Johnson said. “Make sure I’m doing everything. If I’m not getting the ball, do everything I can to help my teammates: blocking, protection and blocking downfield for the receivers.”
Looking ahead to Week 2
In Week 2, the Cardinals face another tough test when they travel to LA for a division matchup against the Rams. The Rams took care of business in Week 1 on Monday Night Football, defeating the Raiders by a score of 33-13.
Johnson acknowledged the Rams’ stout defense, led by some of the most elite defenders in the NFL.
“Good defense, physical defense,” Johnson said. “Obviously everyone knows about (Ndamukong) Suh and Aaron Donald. And they know about the back end with their two corners and safeties.”
In spite of the Rams’ excellent defense, Johnson said the Cardinals are aware of their division rivals’ weaknesses.
“We know what their weaknesses are as well though, because we play them twice a year,” Johnson said.