Kenyan Drake didn’t view Cardinals’ transition tag as slap in the face

May 4, 2020, 9:02 AM

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Kenyan Drake didn’t get a sour taste in his mouth when the Arizona Cardinals used a transition tag on him to change the dynamics of his free agency this offseason.

The move gave them the ability to match another team’s offer to Drake in free agency or let him walk without compensation. But by signing the tender, Drake guaranteed his return to Arizona on a one-year deal worth $8.5 million. It also allows him the ability to continue negotiating a long-term contract with the Cardinals.

“I’m just focused on the things I can control,” Drake told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday while crediting his agency. “With them tagging me, it wasn’t really a slap in the face or anything. They get a gauge on my market and … me signing a tag put me in a decent position from a financial standpoint, especially amongst my fellow running backs.

“Fortunate they saw in me what I saw in myself. Hopefully, we can work on a long-term deal in the future.”

Drake’s base salary ranks fourth-highest among NFL backs for the 2020 season, according to Spotrac.

Titans running back Derrick Henry, who was franchise-tagged this offseason, leads the league with a $10.3 million base salary. The Texans’ David Johnson ($10.2 million), Jets’ Le’Veon Bell ($8.5 million), Drake and the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott ($6.8 million) round out the top-five.

Arizona’s midseason trade for Drake with Miami that cost the Cardinals a Day 3 draft pick helped them close out a 5-10-1 season strongly.

The running back rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns in half a year with Arizona, adding 28 catches for 171 yards as a receiver.

In his interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, Drake complimented the Cardinals’ moves this offseason, which included reloading the defensive front seven with talent and adding receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the trade with the Texans that shipped Johnson to a new home.

“A lot of great moves were made to put people in positions and pieces to make sure that everything is (shored) up,” Drake said. “I’m excited about the direction we were going. I feel like it was a great draft, great free agency.”

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