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The First Week Of Free Agency Aftermath

The world we live in right now is a strange one, to say the least. There are more important things going on in the world than the first week of free agency. But that week still happened. It was a busy one for the Cardinals. They filled all their obvious holes already. A top wide receiver. A defensive line starter. An inside and and outside linebacker.

There are still pieces that could be used. The Cards will still need depth. The draft -- especially with the first-round pick, 8th overall -- will provide another important part.

-- Speaking of the draft, after the Hopkins trade, the Cardinals still have six draft picks: first round (8th), third round (72nd), two in the fourth round (114th, 131st), sixth round (202nd), seventh round (222nd).

-- The Cardinals had a third former player leave in free agency Friday when Pharoh Cooper, who had a nice comeback with the Cards after being a late cut in training camp, signed with the Panthers. Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter already left for the Jaguars, with wide receiver Damiere Byrd going to the Patriots.

-- To follow all the free agent comings-and-goings, bookmark this page.

-- It's still crazy to think the Cardinals got DeAndre Hopkins . I've heard comparisons to Anquan Boldin, and as I can see some parallels (not completely; as physical as Hopkins can be, I'll never see anyone on the level of Q, I don't think), it makes me think of the years of Boldin and Fitz together. Fitz getting another tag-team partner after all this time.

-- Because of the way the week went down, because delayed physicals have slowed the flow of information and in the haze of world events, it feels like the exit of David Johnson didn't get the attention it should have. Sometimes, a fresh start is good. Johnson is going to get that fresh start in Houston.

When he first showed up in 2015, he hurt his hamstring in training camp. Andre Ellington was already the starter and then the Cardinals signed Chris Johnson in training camp. Johnson was third-string but an important cog, making the game-winning catch-and-run against the Saints in his first game, returning the opening kickoff in Chicago for a touchdown and slowly building to a big finish. With Ellington down, after Johnson got hurt, Johnson was fantastic down the stretch in a harbinger of 2016.

Johnson was the best running back weapon in the league in 2016, in my opinion. He came so close to being a rare 1,000-1,000 player, and make no mistake -- if Johnson hadn't hurt his knee in that finale in Los Angeles against the Rams, I have no doubt Bruce Arians would have gotten him to 1,000 yards receiving, even if he would've needed 30 targets.

I would've loved to see what Johnson would've/could've done as a follow-up in 2017 if he hadn't broken his wrist. The 2018 was lost given the state of the offense. No, Johnson didn't have the kind of season he wanted or was expected. Had he not gotten hurt, who knows what would've happened? He was pretty good as a receiver; his plays against the Bengals and Falcons help win those games. That TD catch against the Steelers was vintage Johnson. But once Kenyan Drake got in, it was easy to see he was a better match in the backfield. Johnson is a good man, the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year, deservedly so, this past season. So I'm glad he is getting that fresh start.

-- Wash your hands. Practice social distancing, and try not to go out among people unless you have to. Stay safe out there.

RB David Johnson
RB David Johnson

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