The Arizona Cardinals reportedly lost running back Chase Edmonds to the Miami Dolphins right as the NFL‘s legal tampering period began, but the Cardinals announced shortly after that they were bringing back their lead rusher, James Conner, on a three-year deal. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $21 million, and could grow to a maximum of $25.5 million. It also includes $13.5 million guaranteed.
After the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed him to walk in free agency last offseason, Conner was able to reinvent himself with the Cardinals in 2021 by earning his second career Pro Bowl nod. In 15 games played, he rushed for 752 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns, while also catching 37 passes for 375 yards and three more scores. Edmonds started off the season as the technical starter for Arizona, but once he went down due to injury, Conner exploded. In the Week 9 outing against the San Francisco 49ers, Conner rushed 21 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and also caught five passes for 77 yards and another touchdown.
Conner’s 18 touchdowns last season led the Cardinals, and he will be the No. 1 running back moving forward. His best season came back in 2018 with the Steelers, when he rushed for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 13 games played while Le’Veon Bell held out. Just 26, Conner could approach those numbers again with Kliff Kingsbury leading the offense.