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Paris Johnson Jr. Signs Rookie Contract With Cardinals

First-round pick is one of five draftees to ink deal on eve of minicamp

First-round pick Paris Johnson Jr. (right) signs his first contract with owner Michael Bidwill (center) and GM Monti Ossenfort.
First-round pick Paris Johnson Jr. (right) signs his first contract with owner Michael Bidwill (center) and GM Monti Ossenfort.

Monica Daniels had some time, so as her son got closer to starting his first full-time job with the Arizona Cardinals, she did some calculations.

Houses that needed to be sold, jobs that needed to be left (or job opportunities passed upon), or any other sacrifices she and her family made as Paris Johnson Jr. made his push to be a pro athlete.

That's what Johnson -- sporting a retro Cardinals Pat Tillman jersey for his first day -- was thinking about Thursday as the offensive lineman from Ohio State signed his first NFL contract.

"She said God put it in her heart to really write everything down, like an itemized list." Johnson said of his mom. "To think about how that translated to my first rookie contract, and I think it's insane going from a half-million dollars that she sacrificed from a house, cars, jobs that she passed up or had to step away from to help me all the way to get to this first contract which is like, 52 times that.

"It's insane."

The offensive lineman from Ohio State signed, alongside owner Michael Bidwill and GM Monti Ossenfort, a four-year deal with the fifth-year option for the 2027 season, worth about $28 million. The No. 6 pick overall was the second first-round pick in the draft to have signed his deal, following the ninth pick, defensive tackle Jalen Carter of the Eagles. The Seahawks signed first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba soon after, and the Falcons signed running back Bijan Robinson as well.

"It just reaffirms this is my purpose, with all the things (my mother) did to this point," Johnson said. "It was purposeful in the feeling that she had.

"For it all to pay off I think is incredible. One wrong move and there is none of this and all of it was for naught."

Johnson highlighted a day in which five of the Cardinals' nine-man draft class signed their contracts. Also signing four-year deals were third-round wide receiver Michael Wilson, fourth-round offensive lineman Jon Gaines II, fifth-round quarterback Clayton Tune, and fifth-round linebacker Owen Pappoe.

The four players who have yet to sign are second-round linebacker BJ Ojulari, third-round cornerback Garrett Williams, sixth-round cornerback Kei'Trel Clark and sixth-round defensive lineman Dante Stills.

Clark has yet to arrive in Tempe because of Louisville's graduation this weekend.