Drake's half-season showing so far and his fit within coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense might well have him returning to the desert as he closes in on free agency.
"As far as waiting until after the season (to re-sign Drake), that's not necessarily the thing either. I would certainly love to have Kenyan Drake back," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Friday on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7 via the Cardinals' team website. "I think he fits in this offense and he really has given us a spark in many ways."
Drake debuted with the Cardinals ahead of a Week 9 meeting and left a stunning first impression. With just days to prepare, Drake looked well accustomed to Kingsbury's offense and produced a then-season-high 110 yards on 15 carries, along with his first rushing score of the season and a season-high 52 yards receiving. His production drifted downward during a Cardinals losing streak, but Drake turned in the best game of his career in a 38-24 win over the Browns when the former Dolphins hit the end zone four times and rushed for 137 yards.
When Drake was brought on board by the Cards, Johnson and Chase Emonds were each injured. Just going off last week's output, Drake's role hasn't diminished.
"The mindset of going into the trade, it wasn't done because we had two backs that were injured and was sort of a stop-gap situation," Keim said. "If that was the case, my mindset was I would've signed a guy off the street. We truly thought this was the type of player Kenyan Drake was. That's why we made the trade and hoped this was the kind of success he would have."
Drake's 417 yards rushing are first among Cardinals running backs (rookie quarterback Kyler Murray leads the team with 504 yards) and his five rushing touchdowns are tops on the team despite having played just six games for Arizona. He continues to lead the way despite Johnson (and Edmonds) being back healthy and with more years remaining on his contract.
The 25-year-old Drake looks to have found a fit in Arizona. Perhaps he's found a home going forward, as well.