The Arizona Cardinals have not yet made any move in free agency at running back. Kenyan Drake has departed, signing with the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cardinals have made on additions.
The running backs left available are mostly role players and players whose production has begun slipping.
There is apparently a reason why the Cardinals have not been active at running back. They want to give Chase Edmonds the opportunity to be the lead back.
“I think Chase having this opportunity is going to be huge for him,” general manager Steve Keim said in a press conference last week. “I think he’s shown the ability to be an excellent back in this league with his quickness and his run style.”
Edmonds’ role grew last season into a key contributor on offense. He rushed for a career-high 448 yards and added 53 receptions for 402 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 850 total yards from scrimmage.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has said publicly on more than one occasion that he believes that Edmonds is a starting running back in the league.
He enters the offseason with that role. The only other backs on the roster currently are Eno Benjamin, Jonathan Ward and Khalfani Muhammad. There are exactly zero NFL rushing attempts between the three.
The Cardinals will surely add a back at some point in free agency but, based on who is left, Edmonds will be the clear No. 1 and, unless they draft a running back in the first or second round next month, Edmonds will be expected to carry the load in the running game.
The team believes he can. He will be given every opportunity to do so.