ESPN: Cardinals’ David Johnson a fascinating player to watch in 2018

Aug 30, 2018, 1:27 PM | Updated: 6:01 pm

Rise up: Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is back healthy for the 2018 season.

And he has the most riding on the season for Arizona, according to ESPN’s staff writer Bill Barnwell.

Johnson was named No. 29 of the ESPN list’s 50 “most fascinating people” to watch this season.

The list is broken up into eight sections and highlights players, coaches and front office executives around the league and how they will influence this upcoming season.

Johnson is listed in “the Rehabilitation Stories” group, which focuses on key players around the league who suffered injuries that effected the team drastically.

Before injuring his wrist in 2017 after playing only 43 snaps, Johnson was widely recognized as one of the best running backs in the league. He has rushed for 1,843 yards and 24 touchdowns in 33 career games played.

“Does anybody have more riding on the 2018 season than Arizona’s star running back?” Barnwell asked in his article.

This season could be the difference between life-changing money and an underwhelming paycheck for a player of Johnson’s 2016 caliber.

“If we see a repeat of the 2016 season, when Johnson had a credible case as the best running back in football, he should challenge for a Todd Gurley-sized contract with $50 million or so in new money. If we see a repeat of Johnson’s 2017 season — which lasted all of three quarters before Johnson dislocated his wrist — he’s probably looking at a one-year, prove-it deal before hitting free agency again in 2019,” Barnwell wrote.

The 26-year-old decided not to hold out on his contract during this year’s training camp with negotiations lingering, and expressed that he is keeping his focus on the field. His current rookie contract expires in 2019.

Johnson’s redemption season begins Sept. 9 at University of Phoenix Stadium when the Cardinals host the Washington Redskins.

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ESPN: Cardinals’ David Johnson a fascinating player to watch in 2018