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Cardinals sign David Johnson to three-year extension

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The Arizona Cardinals announced Saturday the team has signed running back David Johnson to a three-year contract extension.

The new deal is worth $39 million and includes $30 million guaranteed, a source told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Johnson gets almost $24 million guaranteed at signing and $28 million by March, a source told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

The signed pact is an accomplishment in itself for the Cardinals, who managed to squeeze in the agreement and put pen to paper in buzzer-beating fashion with kickoff just hours away. It's the latest in a line of deals (Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald, for example) that have kept Arizona's best players with the team during Steve Keim's tenure as general manager.

Johnson is a bit of an unknown for nothing more than the fact he missed all but one game in 2017, a year after earning first-team All-Pro honors. His absence has largely removed him from the consciousness of the average fan (unless we're talking fantasy).

That's not a fair or effective indicator of his value, though. When healthy, Johnson is one of, if not the premier three-down back in the NFL. Only he and Le'Veon Bell have averaged 130-plus scrimmage yards per game as a starter in the last three seasons (minimum 20 games), per NFL Research. Johnson has also scored the third-most total touchdowns in the last three seasons (33), despite missing 15 games in 2017.

In that All-Pro campaign, Johnson recorded 15 games with 100-plus scrimmage yards, which tied with Edgerrin James (2000), Barry Sanders (1997) and Marcus Allen (1985) for the most in a single season in league history. Johnson is also one of just 10 players in NFL history to record a season with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns, with six of those 10 now residing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's some elite company.

All considered, nailing down a new deal for Johnson is a big-time task completed by Keim. Should he return healthy -- he looked good to go in limited preseason action, and is coming off an injury that didn't involve his legs -- Johnson will be worth every single dollar from that $13 million annual salary.

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