Cardinals president Michael Bidwill (right) shakes the hand of third-round pick David Johnson after Johnson signed his first NFL contract Monday.
David Johnson is expected to be a major factor in the Cardinals' offense this season, a bigger running back that can pair with Andre Ellington to power the ground game.
It's just that Johnson isn't making the proclamation himself. Not yet.
"I definitely hope so," Johnson said Monday after signing his first NFL contract, a standard four-year deal the terms of which were undisclosed. "There is no telling right now (my role) but hopefully by the time the regular season comes I can be on the field and help out the team."
Johnson and seventh-round pick Gerald Christian, a tight end and the NFL's "Mr. Irrelevant" for being the final pick in the draft, both signed their rookie deals Monday. The signings leave just first-round draft pick D.J. Humphries unsigned from the Cardinals' draft class. Humphries' deal is not expected to be a complicated contract either and should be signed sooner rather than later.
After a week of working with the Cardinals' veterans – the team has the first of 10 organized team activities Tuesday – Johnson said Ellington and the other running backs have made life easier by helping him.
He also said that even though signing his first deal was a matter of when and not if, "you can't really prepare for a day like this" in terms of emotion, he said.
The same goes for Christian, who decided to negotiate the straightforward contract with only the help of his father and not an agent.
"I didn't really feel comfortable (hiring an agent)," Christian said. "I've been fortunate enough that my
dad was there the whole time with me, he was helping me with my training and being patient in the process. I didn't have an agent the whole time so it kind of got to the point where, 'Why now?' "
As the final pick in the draft, Christian is slated to attend a week's worth of "Mr. Irrelevant" celebrations in southern California later this summer, including a parade and trip to Disneyland. He has embraced the concept, although he thinks it shouldn't color how people view his value in Arizona.
With the retirement of John Carlson, Christian has a chance to make a tight end group that starts with Troy Niklas and Darren Fells and includes wide receiver-turned-tight end Ifeanyi Momah.
"At the end of the day, the Cardinals only had seven picks and I was one of the seven," Christian said. "I don't look too much into that Mr. Irrelevant thing. Knowing me, I feel I can come out and contribute to the team, be very productive."