The Arizona Cardinals tailback told reporters on Monday that he is "encouraged" by contract talks regarding a potential new deal. Johnson admitted, however, that missing 15 games last season likely played a role in not getting paid thus far.
"I think that's what it is -- I didn't play," Johnson said, via the team's official website. "I didn't play last year. I was hoping my production from my second year and what I did my first year would help out, but the NFL is what have you done for me lately, so hopefully, I can prove it once the season starts."
Johnson previously skipped minicamp in an effort to get a new contract but reported to training camp as a good-faith move to help move negotiations along. It's unclear whether general manager Steve Keim's suspension has delayed the team locking down the playmaking running back.
Coming off a season-ending wrist injury in 2017, Johnson looks fresh and ready to go. He carried the ball twice in the Cards' preseason opener, both times popping off for a 14-yard gain. If his initial play is any indication, the 26-year-old looks to have a legit shot to hit his goal of 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. Whether he threatens that landmark with a new contract remains to be seen.