NFL news: James Conner, Cardinals agree to 3-year extension

James Conner Cardinals
James Conner
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals announced on Monday that they have agreed to a three-year contract extension with running back James Conner, securing him through the 2025 season.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $21 million and could grow to a maximum of $25.5 million with incentives. Of that money, $13.5 million is fully guaranteed.

It’s a just reward for the 26-year-old, who reached new heights in Arizona after being written off by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Conner was expected to break out in 2019 after a promising 973-yard, 12-touchdown showing the year prior, but a sprained shoulder and a concussion derailed his season that featured just 464 yards and four scores. Things didn’t improve much in 2020 when he posted 721 yards with six scores, prompting the Steelers to cut ties with him.

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The Cardinals took a chance on him with a one-year deal worth north of $1 million and it paid off. The Pitt product was a touchdown hawk, scoring 15 times on the ground with an additional three scores through the air. His 1,127 yards from scrimmage were the second-most of his career while earning him a Pro Bowl selection.

“I had no goals and really no expectations,” Conner told the team’s official website last year. “I knew I was going to give me best self every day. I knew it would take time to get comfortable with the guys and get into my role. Now, I feel brand new.”

Retaining Conner was imperative for the Cardinals, who stood to potentially lose both rushers of their two-headed attack. Chase Edmonds, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season, is set to sign with the Miami Dolphins once the new league begins on Wednesday.