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D.J. Humphries Likes The Look Of Three-Year Extension With Cardinals

Offensive tackle was scheduled to become a free agent in March

Tackle D.J. Humphries signs his contract extension Tuesday morning.
Tackle D.J. Humphries signs his contract extension Tuesday morning.

The plaid sport coat – cardinal red, with black and white – was going to be perfect for his press conference once D.J. Humphries got his contract extension from the Cardinals.

So sure of this the offensive tackle was, he bought it in 2018, long before an extension was any sure thing.

"Sometimes people don't see what you see," Humphries said Tuesday, after signing a three-year contract extension prior to reaching free agent in March. "And it's not their fault. They're not supposed to. … I knew this was going to happen two years ago. Because I wrote it in my head. It was just a matter of putting in the work."

The team did not announce financial details, but the NFL Network reported the deal was worth up to $45 million with $29 million guaranteed. Humphries made $9.6 million in salary in 2019, his best season and one in which he stayed healthy after a career marked with immaturity and injuries.

Humphries understood his early shortcomings – "This place has embraced me in every way, even when I shouldn't have been embraced" – but perhaps that's why the 26-year-old believes in his version of the future, the same one that told him to buy the sport coat.

"I genuinely feel like I just started to figure out how to do it the right way," Humphries said. "I feel the same way I did two years ago – these people have no idea.

"I just came from the gym, and we were planning for the next 36 months, trying to figure out how to maximize this. This is the first time you really, 'You've been healthy, you can show everybody.' They saw it this (past) season – whether you want to acknowledge it or not, talk all you want, (allowing) two sacks is two sacks. I play in the National Football League. … I know when I play, and my teammates know the work I put into this thing. I know the recipe."

Humphries was the Cardinals' top free-agent priority of their own free-agents-to-be, with running back Kenyan Drake also someone the Cards would like to retain.

General Manager Steve Keim said last week on Arizona Sports, 98.7 FM that while the franchise tag would be an option to keep Humphries around, the goal was always to get an extension done before free agency began March 18. Had Humphries received the franchise tag, it was projected to be worth around $16 million for 2020.

"We all feel very confident D.J. Humphries has grown into one of the better tackles in the National Football League," Keim said.

While Humphries was flagged for double-digit penalties this season, he also allowed only the two sacks. The deal doesn't commit the Cardinals to too hefty of a deal, but it also will allow Humphries – whose birthday is in December – to be a free agent again before he turns 30.

"I'm not ready to process that yet," Humphries said with a smile. "I haven't even had a steak with the new money yet."

Humphries was inactive every game as a rookie, before starting all 13 games he played in 2016. Knee injuries limited him to five games in 2017 and nine in 2018. In Kingsbury's first season, he not only started all 16 games but played 1,044 out of 1,046 offensive snaps.

Because of that patience the team showed with him, "I was never leaving Arizona," Humphries said. "That was never a question."

It's a busy week for Humphries, who leaves for Charlotte Wednesday for his wedding – a flight that was originally supposed to be Tuesday, before he and his fiancée, Briyana, decided to wait an extra day. That turned out to be providence, with his new contract (and a press conference) coming together before they left.

As it turned out, the plaid jacket was nowhere to be seen Tuesday, nor was the form-fitting turtleneck and jeans and nice sneakers he had planned. Humphries wore a black polo shirt when he signed his deal and a Cardinals long-sleeve shirt when he did his press conference.

Senior vice president of media relations Mark Dalton had told Humphries he didn't have to wear a jacket for Tuesday's events – "I'm like, 'damn, Mark, I had this suit for two years, bro,' " Humphries said – and then he needed to get in a workout between the signing and meeting the media, hence his final outfit.

Humphries has lofty aspirations for the next two years, and beyond. Much of his hope is tied into winning a Super Bowl. He'd certainly have another spot where he could break out the coat.

"I was confident in myself," Humphries said. "That's what it is. I can't expect you to be confident in me. You're not me. I can't expect you to think that I was going to do the goals that I have set for me. Every goal for myself for the most part, I've checked off."