Kenyan Drake was a legit 1a for the Cardinals going into 2020, and there was no doubt who the 1a was going to be.
Going into 2021, we can’t make the same assumption with James Conner.
Will Conner get most early down goal line reps? Yes, but I would assume Edmonds gets a bump in snap share and touches off the bat.
Drake just signed a 2-year $11 mil deal that caps out at $14.5 mil in incentives.
Conner got a 1-year $1.75 mil contract.
After finishing less games year after year over the past three seasons, we can’t assume Conner is going to stay healthy. He’s one player I can’t trust to stay healthy.
Drake averaged ~18 touches/game last season; it’s really hard for me to believe that Conner can hold up with type of volume.
If Conner does end up getting hurt, who will complement Edmonds? If that RB is still on the roster, there’s a good chance Edmonds gets the lion’s share of snaps.
The fact that the Cardinals didn’t draft a RB tells you they’re content with what they have in their backfield. Can they sign a veteran free agent late in the game? Sure, and I would keep an eye out for that.
Edmonds doesn’t have to be a workhorse, but an increase in snap share would be welcome. He had 67 targets last year on limited snaps. More passing work and early down work can potentially keep his floor in the RB2 range.
Even after Conner signed, Edmonds believes he still has a chance to be the guy: “It’s now or never… I’ve finally got my opportunity really and truly in front of me to have a pretty big role in this offense. It’s something I’ve been dying for, praying for, since my first three years in the NFL. It seemed like it would never happen, but I’ve finally got this opportunity, and I’ve got to make the most of it.”
This tells me that the door’s open for Edmonds to command a larger role in the offense than he had last season, even while Conner is healthy.