Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Ward signs 1-year tender

Apr 11, 2022, 2:05 PM
Jonathan Ward #29 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the...
Jonathan Ward #29 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals exclusive rights free agent running back Jonathan Ward signed his one-year tender on Monday, the team announced.

Ward and wide receiver Antoine Wesley were the team’s two exclusive rights free agents this offseason. Wesley signed his tender last Thursday.

In 13 games played last season, Ward ran the rock nine times for 33 yards and accounted for three first downs. He also caught three of his four targets for 34 yards.

One of those catches, however, ranked among the top catches across the NFL last season.

Against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16, Ward made a ridiculous 23-yard catch off of a defender’s helmet on a fake punt play.

Ward originally signed with the Cardinals back in 2020 as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan. He made his first career touchdown — an 11-yard reception — in the team’s season finale loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Outside of Ward’s signing on Monday, the Cardinals’ running backs room currently features James Conner, Eno Benjamin and Jaylen Samuels. Given Arizona’s current roster construction, Ward figures to slide in behind Conner and Benjamin as the team’s third option in the backfield.

Conner is coming off an 18-touchdown effort in 2021, while Benjamin saw the field for the first time in his two-year career. Over nine games played, Benjamin recorded 34 carries for 118 yards and a score. He also caught six of his seven targets for 42 yards.

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