The Arizona Cardinals signed Chris Johnson in a pinch prior to the 2015 regular season, and the NFC West champions evidently weren't disappointed with their decision to bring the veteran running back aboard. The Cardinals announced Thursday that they'll be bringing him back on a one-year deal.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the deal.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the contract is a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, and Johnson "turned down nearly double that from another team."
Johnson originally signed a one-year deal with Arizona that included $400,000 guaranteed and a base salary of $870,000, according to Spotrac. There was also a bonus worth $1.13 million if he rushed for 1,300 yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
Andre Ellington suffered a PCL injury that thrust Johnson into a starting gig in Week 2, and his production didn't disappoint. Over his first give games—including four starts in place of Ellington—Johnson rushed for 405 yards, which ranked No. 2 behind Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte during that span.
Before he was placed on short-term injured reserve with a broken leg, Johnson rushed for 814 yards and three touchdowns while catching six passes for 58 yards through 11 games.
|Chris Johnson's 2015 Game Log|
|Opponent||Rushes||Rush Yds||TD||Rec Yds|
|New Orleans Saints||10||37||0||0|
|San Francisco 49ers||22||110||2||40|
|St. Louis Rams||16||83||0||11|
|San Francisco 49ers||12||17||0||0|
"They're utilizing him like they should, trying to get the ball to him in the passing game and run game," former Tennessee Titans and current St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said on Oct. 1, via the Associated Press' Bob Baum. "He's really quick through the hole. For his size, he's got power, so on the goal line, [he can] run for a touchdown."
Johnson's not the same runner he was when he led the league with 2,006 yards on the ground during the 2009 season, but he's still got enough burst to operate as a solid between-the-tackles runner as part of a rotation that features talented young runners like Ellington and David Johnson.
And while Johnson flaunted skills throughout December that consistently made him look like the new lead dog in Arizona's backfield, Ellington has been far too injury-prone to trust with a sizable workload.
Ellington has yet to appear in all 16 games since entering the league in 2013, so having Johnson available to play the role of veteran safety blanket will be crucial for the Cardinals' high-powered offense moving forward.
All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
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