ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals RB David Johnson starts for ESPN’s ‘perfect NFL roster’

Aug 16, 2017, 9:55 AM | Updated: 11:53 am
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs for a touchdown as Washington Redskins corne...
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs for a touchdown as Washington Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller (38) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Everyone knows Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is a stud, but he’s also one of the league’s best bargains.

It’s an easy label to give the third-round pick from 2015 when he scored 20 total touchdowns and had over 2,000 all-purpose yards in his second NFL season

Johnson’s $800,000 salary from his four-year, nearly $3 million contract signed after the 2015 NFL Draft makes him a great fit for a concept of building the NFL’s best roster possible under the salary cap.

That’s what ESPN’s Bill Barnwell was after crafting his “perfect NFL roster,” making a full 53-man roster with a couple of rules attached.

Johnson is the team’s starting running back, and as Barnwell notes, the all-around ability of Johnson is nearly unmatched.

The only all-purpose back who compares to David Johnson is Le’Veon Bell, whose $12.1 million franchise tender all but disqualifies him for this team. Johnson will be the focus of the backfield, but he will get help.

Johnson was the lone Cardinal to make the list.

Barnwell’s rules included at least one player from each team, but no more than three from one franchise. He also used the bottom of his roster to fill out special teams roles and put a limit on seven rookies, as they are easy cheap options for this type of exercise.

For those wondering who made it over other Cardinals standouts like Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, Barnwell wouldn’t have had the luxury of cutting costs with their selections like he did with Johnson.

His three corners — Chris Harris, Malcolm Butler and Jalen Ramsey — cost $19 million combined. Peterson’s salary for the 2017-18 season is over $13 million.

The same applied at wide receiver. Odell Beckham, Amari Cooper and Michael Thomas formed the team’s trio at a combined cost of $10.69 million while Fitzgerald makes a $15.85 million salary this season.

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, left, talks with quarterback Kyler Murray during the ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury ‘impressed’ with Kyler Murray’s play-calling

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury handed over play-calling duties to QB Kyler Murray in the team's 36-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
23 hours ago
(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
Tyler Drake

Victor Dimukeje, Trace McSorley pace Arizona Cardinals in rout of Bengals

Arizona Cardinals OLB Victor Dimukeje and QB Trace McSorley made the most of their opportunities in Friday's win over the Bengals.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley looks for a receiver during the team's NFL football pr...
Kellan Olson

Trace McSorley throws TD in 1st preseason drive, Cardinals beat Bengals

The Arizona Cardinals' first series of the preseason was a positive one and they never looked back from there to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
23 hours ago
Greg Dortch #83 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a catch while being tackled by Bookie Radley-Hiles #...
Kellan Olson

Greg Dortch keeps making plays for Cardinals with great grab, long return

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Greg Dortch has made big catches all camp long and he kept it going in his first preseason game this year.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Baccellia (82) pulls in a pass for a touchdown in front of Ci...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals WR Andre Baccellia ruled out due to ankle injury

Arizona Cardinals WR Andre Baccellia will not return in Thursday's preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an ankle injury.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray takes stands on the sidelines during the NFL football te...
Tyler Drake

Kyler Murray expected to call plays during 4th quarter of Cardinals-Bengals

Kliff Kingsbury is expected to hand over play-calling duties to quarterback Kyler Murray in the fourth quarter of Cardinals-Bengals.
23 hours ago
Cardinals RB David Johnson starts for ESPN’s ‘perfect NFL roster’