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Cardinals sign David Johnson to contract extension

September 9, 2018
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FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2018, file photo, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) breaks free against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, in Glendale, Ariz. Arizona’s Sam Bradford is especially anxious to get back on the field, since he is coming back from yet another significant left knee injury. The offense he directs will center around the multi-talented Johnson, who returns after fracturing his left wrist in the season opener. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — On the eve of their season opener, the Arizona Cardinals have signed star running back David Johnson to a three-year contract extension.

Johnson, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns two seasons ago but missed all but one game a year ago with a fractured left wrist, had held out during the team’s minicamp but expressed optimism during training camp that a deal would get done.

The contract, announced by the team in a news release Saturday night, runs through the 2021 season. Arizona opens its season at home against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

Johnson was drafted in the third round out of Northern Iowa in 2016 and figures to be the centerpiece of the offense under new coach Steve Wilks, who wants to emphasize a power running game.

Johnson also is a gifted receiver and has set a goal of 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving.

Two years ago, the dynamic running back rushed for 1,239 yards and caught 80 passes for 879 yards. He scored 20 touchdowns, 16 rushing and four receiving, earning first-team All-Pro honors.

In that breakout year, Johnson became the first player in NFL history to top 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the first 15 games of the season and may have done it in the 16th had he not injured a knee.

The injury in last season’s opener wiped out the rest of the 2017 and, Johnson acknowledged, reduced his leverage in his hope for a new contract. Johnson would have become a free agent at the end of this season.

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