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.

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals rookie TE Trey McBride looks on during training camp on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: Rookie Trey McBride set to make debut vs. Ravens

After dealing with a sore back, Arizona Cardinals rookie tight end Trey McBride is on track to play against the Ravens.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown looks on during training camp on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Glen...
Tyler Drake

Speeding arrest a learning moment for Arizona Cardinals’ Marquise Brown

Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown spoke Wednesday for the first time since he was arrested for excessive speeding.
1 day ago
DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 12: Jessie Lemonier #52 of the Detroit Lions gets set against the Denve...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals release linebacker Jessie Lemonier

The Arizona Cardinals released linebacker Jessie Lemonier, the team announced on Wednesday.
1 day ago
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 and wide receiver Marquise Brown #5 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrate a...
Tyler Drake

‘It’s just a natural connection’ for Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, Hollywood Brown

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and WR Hollywood Brown linked up for the first time in an Arizona uniform on Monday. The chemistry is still there.
1 day ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers tight end Josiah Deguara, third from right, rides a young fan's bike as th...
Associated Press

NFL looks like old self entering 3rd season in COVID-19 era

The NFL is looking and acting like it's essentially back to normal going into its third season dealing with COVID-19.
2 days ago
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: QB Kyler Murray weighs in on fake Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray gave his two cents on a certain impersonation from the rookie talent show.
2 days ago
Kenyan Drake agrees to contract with Raiders, leaves Cardinals