ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals players back David Johnson’s decision to skip minicamp

Jun 12, 2018, 4:13 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson smiles as he gets ready to put on his football helmet ...
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson smiles as he gets ready to put on his football helmet during an NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – It’s been a while since the Cardinals had contract-related drama during offseason workouts or training camp.

Team president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim have taken great pains to shed the issues that dogged this franchise for its first two-and-a-half decades in the Valley when high-profile disputes with players such as Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett tarnished the team’s public image.

Running back David Johnson threw a wrench in those plans when he was a no-show on the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp at the team’s headquarters on Tuesday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the news that Johnson was skipping camp while he awaits a new deal. Johnson is entering the final year of his contract in which he will make a base salary of $1.88 million.

This year, the maximum fine amounts for missing minicamp are $14,070 for the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the last day, for a total of $84,435. Cardinals’ Steve Wilks didn’t offer much when asked for his reaction to Johnson’s absence.

“I said I wasn’t going to address players that aren’t participating,” Wilks said. “I try not to focus on that. I’m just trying to focus on the guys that are here; looking to get better each and every day with the ones that are here.”

Johnson isn’t the only star player defined this week by his inaction. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald and Seahawks safety Earl Thomas are also skipping minicamp, the latter three due to contract disputes.

However it plays out, Johnson’s teammates insist there are no hard feelings.

“Players, we band together, we understand what it’s all about,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “He’s a hard worker, one of the good guys — the great guys — so we’re not worried about that. He wants a new deal. It’s not the first time it’s going to happen. It probably won’t be the last time. It’s a business on both ends. We’re going to support him. He’s going to do what he thinks is right for him and his family. They’ll get it situated.”

With a first-year coaching staff, the players admitted Johnson might have some catching up to do after watching practice last week and sitting out this week, but they don’t view the missed time as insurmountable.

“David’s been here; he was pretty much the entire offseason,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “He wasn’t here today but I’m not worried about David at all. He’s a tremendous player. Whenever he gets back here, I know he’ll be in shape and he’ll be ready to roll.”

Wilks echoed those thoughts indirectly.

“For the most part, guys have been dialed in since April 3, learning the system, doing the things they have to do in each phase and we’ve gotten to this point,” he said. “David’s not here and we’ve got to keep going. This is the National Football league. It doesn’t stop for myself or any other player.”

Running back DJ Foster said it’s important to maintain a big-picture perspective on Johnson’s decision.

“We all go through our challenges,” he said. “We’re all at a different place in this league when it comes to contracts, when it comes to a lot of stuff. As teammates, we just try to support each other and be there for each other and help guys get through whatever they’re going through throughout their professional career.”

Johnson hasn’t reached out to Bethea for advice, but when asked what he would say to Johnson, Bethea had a simple answer.

“Do whatever you feel is right,” he said. “If you feel as though this is the right thing, do that and just stand behind it.

“I’m pretty sure he’s away studying, so in four or five practices you can miss some stuff, but it’s not going to hinder you from being able to do what we need to do once the season gets here. Let him take care of his business. He’ll be back.”

Arizona Cardinals

Jordan Phillips #97 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts in the first quarter against the Houston Texans...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals defense a force to be reckoned with through 7 weeks

The Cardinals defense is filled with playmakers, whether it be in the secondary, in the trenches or patrolling the middle of the field.
17 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) battles Houston Texans offensive tackle Charlie Heck...
Arizona Sports

Packers-Cardinals injury report: J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins out Monday

WR DeAndre Hopkins and DE J.J. Watt were among five Arizona Cardinals who were listed as non-participants Monday.
17 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals LB Chandler Jones (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals activate LB Chandler Jones, DL Zach Allen off COVID-19 list

The Cardinals officially activated linebacker Chandler Jones and defensive lineman Zach Allen off of the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.
17 hours ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a sack in the third quarter against the Cleve...
Tyler Drake

Meant-to-be Cardinals LB Markus Golden enjoying productive 2021

There aren't many who proclaim their love for a team quite like Cardinals LB Markus Golden. With how he's playing, the feeling is mutual.
17 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz warms up ahead of practice Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Tempe. (Tyle...
Character Counts

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz to give 5,000 meals per TD to Arizona food banks

Cards TE Zach Ertz is giving back to the community, providing 5,000 meals to local AZ food banks for every TD the team score this season.
17 hours ago
Washington Football Team's Benjamin St-Juste is called for pass interference on Green Bay Packers' ...
Arizona Sports

Packers WR Adams to COVID-19 list, DC positive before Cards game

Green Bay Packers DC Joe Barry will miss the Thursday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals, reports NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
17 hours ago
Cardinals players back David Johnson’s decision to skip minicamp