James Conner To Cardinals Downgrades Chase Edmonds’ Fantasy Stock
CARSON, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 13: Running back James Conner #30 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park on October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
A messy backfield is once again coming together in Arizona.
Pro Bowl running back James Conner has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cardinals, as reported by the team’s official Twitter account on Tuesday.
Conner fills the roster void left by Kenyan Drake, who signed with the Raiders earlier this offseason. Conner joins Chase Edmonds, Jonathan Ward and Eno Benjamin on the Cardinals’ depth chart, creating what could be a painful running back by committee situation wielded by notoriously mercurial head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Conner’s addition likely plummets Edmonds’ fantasy football value after some had briefly hoped Edmonds could ascend to a workhorse role without competition from Drake.
The 25-year-old Conner had spent all four seasons as a member of the Steelers. The Pennsylvania native was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft from the University of Pittsburgh and backed up Le’Veon Bell in his rookie season.
Bell held out for the entire 2018 season, allowing Conner to step into a workhorse role. He posted career highs in attempts, touchdowns, rushing and receiving and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Conner has been underwhelming since his sophomore year due in part to injuries. He suffered a knee injury early in the 2019 season and later suffered a shoulder injury which kept him out of six total games.
The Steelers’ run game was a pain point throughout the 2020 season, which forced them to lean on an aging Ben Roethlisberger for offensive. The team finished dead last in rushing yards and 28th in the NFL in rushing attempts. Conner missed two games in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19 in late November and one game due to injury. He finished with 721 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns and 35 catches for 215 yards.
Conner’s departure leaves a gaping void on the Steelers’ depth chart, who will likely have to make a move in the 2021 NFL Draft or through a free-agent signing before the season begins. Next up are Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr. and recently-acquired Kalen Ballage.