TIME, Ariz. — Though he missed 45 yards in his first 1,000-yard season, the Arizona Cardinals’ back-to-back 2020 games proved he could handle the workload as the team’s first back.
But with Free Agency on the horizon, Drake doesn’t know who he’ll be carrying the ball for in 2021. Or how much he gets paid.
Drake will be the 17th. March to become a free agent when his championship year begins and his one-year offer expires.
Drake, who the Cardinals acquired from the Miami Dolphins midway through the 2019 season, said on the final Friday of the season that he would determine his future as a player when we cross that bridge.
His 2020 season should attract a number of fans, at least at first glance, including perhaps the Cardinals.
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Drake ranks 13th in the NFL with 955 rushing yards, 7th with 239 carries and 10th with 10 rushing touchdowns – one less than fellow quarterback Kyler Murray. He also exceeded the 1,000-yard mark for the third consecutive week with 137 receiving yards on 25 catches, his lowest total in all categories since 2016.
But Drake believes his resume proves he can be a role model for any team.
Because when you look at the numbers, I’ve had 1,000 yards in the last two years, when it comes to rushing and receiving, people are always going to wonder what they’re not seeing or what you’re not proving, Drake said.
Doubts, I mean, there will be people who want to see you fail, who think you don’t belong in a certain place. I don’t care, because I’m concentrating on what I can control. … People who doubt me or our performance here, I ask them to come here and do what we do every day and see how they do it. But other than that, it’s neither here nor there, because I don’t really care about them.
Reaching 1,000 yards was important for Drake before the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, who needed 81 yards to reach that mark. But he only ran 36 and missed 7 games without reaching the 100 meter mark. In this period he reached 80 meters only once.
In fact, Drake has only scored 100 yards twice this season and less than 50 yards seven times.
Drake’s inconsistency – combined with some chances taken away from him by Murray, who was a more lethal race threat at times – led to him getting closer than 1,000 yards. The Cardinals went from a franchise record of 5.03 yards per carry in 2019 to 4.67 yards in 2020, which was still the seventh best result in the NFL.
Arizona was 6-2 when Drake ran for at least 60 yards, but was 2-5 when he failed to reach that mark. Drake missed the Dolphins’ ninth week due to injury.
If Drake hits the market this season, he might find that teams are asking him – or him asking him – to lower his salary for his next contract. His base salary for 2020 is $8.48 million, according to the transition measure – the 10 highest salaries of anyone working last season. The salary cap for 2021 is expected to drop by about $22 million, leaving teams with less money to play with.
This thought has not escaped Drake, who is still looking for his big, long-term contract.
According to Drake, “I have a great team behind me at SportsTrust [Drake’s business manager] who will do everything they can to make sure everything goes according to plan when we get there.
Coach Cliff Kingsbury was publicly pleased with Drake’s performance, but did not commit to returning to Arizona in 2021.
Since he’s been here two seasons, he’s done an excellent job, Kingsbury said. was durable and healthy and brings a lot of energy to the position. I was very impressed with Kenya and what it brought. It’s been productive and scored some touchdowns for us, so we’ll see how it goes.