ARIZONA CARDINALS

Kenyan Drake agrees to contract with Raiders, leaves Cardinals

Mar 18, 2021, 11:43 AM | Updated: 11:58 am
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker ...

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Free agent running back Kenyan Drake has agreed to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders and departs the Arizona Cardinals after a season and a half, according to his agents.

Drake is signing a two-year, $11 million deal that can earn him as much as $14.5 million, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Drake is the latest Cardinal starter to depart, as Patrick Peterson and Haason Reddick are among those who already agreed to sign elsewhere as free agents.

He joins a Las Vegas team that will pair him with fellow running back Josh Jacobs, who is Drake’s friend, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Head coach Jon Gruden plans to utilize Drake as a pass-catching type of back to complement Jacobs, who was one of nine 1,000-yard rushers in the NFL last year.

Looking ahead to 2021, the Cardinals will return running back Chase Edmonds for his fourth NFL season after he stacked up a career-high 448 rushing yards and 402 receiving yards with five combined touchdowns last year.

Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team would be comfortable with Edmonds taking the role of lead back if Drake departed.

“As far as Chase goes, you’ve seen him when he’s had his opportunity,” Kingsbury said via Zoom this month. “He’s played at a starting running back level and we all understand that. He’s unfortunately been nicked up a couple times, which we want to keep him on the field, but we have all the confidence in the world in Chase and him being able to be the bell-cow if that’s how this plays out.”

Drake rushed for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns on 4.0 yards per carry last season. He was relatively sturdy, appearing in 15 games in his first NFL season as a No. 1 running back.

He missed one game due to an ankle injury.

The production didn’t exactly meet expectations after Drake set the bar with a strong eight-game run in 2019, after Arizona acquired him in a trade from the Miami Dolphins.

If the back-half of that season, Drake rushed for 643 yards on 5.2 yards per carry with eight scores.

For Arizona moving forward, the back end of the running back depth chart includes relative unknowns.

Undrafted second-year man Jonathan Ward and 2020 seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin return behind Edmonds. Ward made an appearance for the offense on a handful of snaps, while Benjamin was a healthy scratch all year long.

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