Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake is playing on his one-year transition tag tender and will be a free agent for the second year in a row in 2021. According to Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar, he is one of the best soon-to-be free agents in the league.
In the 2020 free agency space, there were exactly four running backs (Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard, J.D. McKissic, and Peyton Barber) who were given new contracts of more than one year, and Gordon led the way with $16 million total, and $13.5 million guaranteed as he moved from the Chargers to the Broncos. There are no backs in the upcoming free-agency period who are going to get anywhere near the four-year, $57,5 million extension the Rams gave Todd Gurley in 2018, but given the way that deal turned out, talent might not matter at this point.
Of the upcoming free agents, Drake is probably the best of the lot. With 168 carries for 719 yards and seven touchdowns, Drake is on pace for the first 1,000-yard season in his five-year career, and his 21 broken tackles as a runner, and six runs of 15 yards or more for 162 yards, show a player with still-untapped potential. A smart team in need of a lead back in a rotation will snap Drake up, and probably for a relative bargain.
Drake, despite missing a game to injury, is sixth in the NFL in rushing. He is on pace for nearly 1,100 yards. He is tied for 11th in the league with four runs of at least 20 yards. He is ninth in touchdown runs.
While some Cardinals fans are not thrilled with his play game to game, he is having a fine season and gets better in the second halves of games.
He will have made nearly $8.5 million this season on the transition tag.
He might not end up returning to the Cardinals in 2021. Whoever signs him gets a solid player.