PHOENIX — The Arizona Cardinals have placed a transition tag on running back Kenyan Drake. The unrestricted free agent could begin negotiating with other teams at 9 a.m Monday morning when the NFL’s free agent negotiating window opened.
The transition tag means that the Cardinals have the right-of-first-refusal on any offer made to Drake through July 22. The move also gives the team until July 15 to negotiate a long-term contract with the running back.
Unlike the franchise tag, the Cardinals would not receive any draft pick compensation if they decline to match an offer sheet. Under the terms of the transition tag, which would take the average of the top 10 salaries of running back’s across the league, Drake would make in the ballpark of $8 million for the 2020 season if he stays in Arizona.
This allows Drake to test his market worth, while Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury have both said retaining Drake is a priority this off-season. Making matters trickier for the team is David Johnson’s $10.2-million salary for the upcoming season, with no cap relief if they decide to cut him.
Drake, who was acquired in a trade with Miami in week nine last season, rushed for 100+ yards in three of his eight games with the Cardinals, while averaging more than five yards per carry. He rushed for seven touchdowns over the final three weeks of the season.