FAB 2. Don’t Expect The Bucs To Trade For Johnson, Peterson
The Cardinals won’t be trading running back David Johnson to the Buccaneers – or any team – this year or anytime soon.
So Bucs fans can stop playing fantasy football in their heads. This isn’t franchise mode in Madden we’re talking about here.
The Big Takeaway
Arizona would have to take a $4 million cap hit just to receive a draft pick by trading Johnson – and would have a big hole at running back on its roster. The Cardinals need to add more talent around second-year quarterback Josh Rosen – not subtract it.
Johnson signed a three-year contract extension with the Cardinals worth $39 million and included a $12 million bonus last year. He’s due to make $5.7 million in base salary, in addition to a $1,050,000 roster bonus next year. That coupled with his $3 million signing bonus proration puts his 2018 cap value at $9.75 million.
If Arizona were to trade him, the remaining $9 million signing bonus proration would accelerate. While the Cardinals would clear Johnson’s 2018 base salary of $5.7 million off the books, the team would still have $4 million in dead cap room in the offset.
The Cardinals aren’t going to trade Johnson – even if new Bucs coach Bruce Arians wanted them to. The Bucs, which had one of the worst running games in the league last year, could certainly use Johnson in a backfield that includes Peyton Barber, a workmanlike runner, and Ronald Jones, a second-round pick that had a disappointing rookie season. But it’s nothing more than wishful thinking, Bucs fans.
Trading for Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson would be more realistic as he’s set to make $11 million at age 29, and there is no more salary cap proration that the Cardinals have to account for in his contract. Trading Peterson would leave Arizona with a manageable $884,588 cap hit, but would allow the team to free up $11 million in cap room.
Yet the Cardinals don’t need to create any salary cap space, as they are currently $46,384,655 under the cap, which is the eighth-most cap space in the league in 2019. Arizona general manager Steve Keim doesn’t want to part with Peterson, who is one of the leaders and the team’s best player, so don’t expect him to deal his Pro Bowl cornerback.
Peterson is under contract through the 2020 season in which he is set to make $12,050,000 with a $250,000 roster bonus and a $250,000 workout bonus, and the Bucs may not be able to afford his $11 million salary in 2019 without releasing some players to create more cap room. Tampa Bay ranks 29th in available cap space with $12,193,360 and still has several of its free agents to sign, including left tackle Donovan Smith, middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and wide receiver Adam Humphries among others.
The FABulous Ending
While Johnson and Peterson would bring a lot to the Bucs at two positions of need, don’t expect the Cardinals to part ways with either of them. Arians would love to have some of his former players in Tampa Bay, but Arizona isn’t in position to part with its most talented players. Yet there are some former players that Arians might want to lure to the Bucs as free agents. See the next section of SR’s Fab 5 to find out who.