August 14, 2018 / 5:13 PM / a year ago

Cardinals RB Johnson 'encouraged' by extension talks

Aug 11, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) carries the ball prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson told reporters Monday that he’s “encouraged” by discussions about an extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

Johnson, 26, is due for a major raise on this season’s $1.88 million salary. Todd Gurley reset the running back market in July despite having two years remaining on his contract, signing a four-year, $57.5 million deal with $45 million guaranteed and a $21 million signing bonus.

Johnson did indicate to reporters, however, that his 2017 absence — when he missed all but half of the regular-season opener with a wrist injury — has impacted contract talks.

“I think that’s what it is: I didn’t play,” Johnson said. “I didn’t play last year. I was hoping my production from my second year and what I did my first year would help out, but the NFL is what have you done for me lately, so hopefully I can prove it once the season starts.”

General manager Steve Keim told reporters in June the team looked forward to “rewarding” Johnson and “having a long-term future” with the back.

Johnson finished the 2016 season with NFL highs of 373 touches, 2,118 scrimmages yards and 20 total touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors. His 80 catches and 879 receiving yards were each tops among NFL running backs, with the latter figure leading second-ranked Le’Veon Bell by 263 yards.

The fourth-year pro flashed in limited work in Saturday’s preseason opener, taking his only two carries for 14 yards apiece.

A third-round pick in 2015, Johnson has averaged 96.3 scrimmage yards and a touchdown per game in 33 career games (22 starts).

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