Cardinals give James Conner a one-year, $1.75 million contract

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers
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The market for veteran tailbacks isn’t what it used to be. Then again, it’s never really been all that great.

The Cardinals gave running back James Conner a one-year, $1.75 million contract, according to Adam Schefter of The deal includes a $500,000 signing bonus, and the entirety of the deal is fully guaranteed.

Presumably, he would have accepted a similar contract to stay in Pittsburgh, where he played college football and the first four years of his NFL career. Apparently, the Steelers didn’t make a comparable offer.

The one-year contract follows the four-year, $3.242 million slotted deal that Conner signed as a third-round rookie in 2017.

That puts him just south of $5 million for the first five years of his career. While not shabby money, it dispels the notion that all pro football players are rolling in dough. Conner is at the lower end of the salary structure, despite playing one of the most physically demanding positions in the sport. And given the time it took to get his one-year deal for 2021, it’s likely he’ll be trying to get the same kind of contract a year from now.

This isn’t to knock Conner’s pay or his ability or effort. It is what it is. Dollar for dollar, however, Conner has more than earned what he’s gotten. He’s been banged up, beaten up, tossed around. And he’s not getting the kind of money in his mid-20s that will carry him for the next 60 or 70 years.

UPDATE 5:55 a.m. 4/14/21: The initial version of this post, based on Schefter’s initial tweet, said that it was a $1.25 million deal. Schefter has issued a correction, making it $1.75 million.

17 responses to “Cardinals give James Conner a one-year, $1.75 million contract

  1. And he’s not getting the kind of money in his mid-20s that will carry him for the next 60 or 70 years.


    Arguably even after taxes $4.5mil is enough to carry him 60 years. Then again, when I was in my mid-20s I didn’t make enough to last me the rest of my life either.

  2. So in 5 years he’ll make a lot more than what most people make in 50. I think he’ll be alright.

  3. You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t shed too many tears for someone making twice the average person’s lifetime earnings in roughly a decade. I’m sure if he invests even a portion of that wisely he’ll be more than set for life.

  4. Earns $4.5 million playing football for 5 years. Received some endorsement deals and some cash for appearences plus a pension worth around $43,000 per year for the rest of his life. If he has half a brain, that could last a lifetime. And if he retires in Pittsburgh, he will never have to buy a beer.

  5. Hes made almost a million a year on average the past 5 years. Top 1% in the world make 30k per year and above. Hes a top .0001%er
    Someone making 30k per year won’t make 1m over 30 years.

    Hes rolling

  6. If he lived off of a 200k salary and invested 3-400ish (after whatever taxes takes away) every year he’d be fine into his 60s & 70s.

  7. They need to redo the rookie wage scale by position. Clearly a decade ago unproven rookie QBs were getting far too much guaranteed money. But running backs have such a short shelf life. Either rookie RBs need a higher slotted starting salary or they should get to hit free agency a year earlier. Comparing all players across all positions isn’t fair and yeah “he’s a millionaire” compared to you and I. But after taxes and the toll his body has been through, a rookie 3rd rounder should be making more for 4 years of work. Either that or there should be some auto rookie deal bonuses built in for achievements

  8. So 4.5 million dollars for five years of work isn’t “shabby”, but isn’t “rolling in dough” either…I think I must not understand those terms then.

  9. I am a CFP, so I can speak to the comment about not getting enough money to carry him for 60 years. If he has been prudent with what he has made so far, and has some skills to use later than can provide a moderate income, he is in excellent shape. Not everyone needs 3 houses and 8 cars. Compared to a 12 year left tackles he’s on the breadline, but compared to even well paid regular people, he’s fine.

  10. “He’s been banged up, beaten up, tossed around. And he’s not getting the kind of money in his mid-20s that will carry him for the next 60 or 70 years.”

    Man, wish I made 5 million in my 20s. I’m a teacher and won’t make 5 million dollars in my life. To say this won’t carry him through is such an insult and a joke.

  11. Good to see him get out of Pittsburgh. Was slow, hurt too often, and fumbled at the worst possible times. And don’t tell me $5mill is shabby money. If he saved & invested wisely, he wouldn’t be broke at 40, like a lot of these clowns are.

  12. He should not put up with this. There are plenty of fast food restaurants looking for help.

  13. For that low a price he seems like a good deal.
    I’d rather have two of him than one Zeke, and save the $10 million and put it towards the Oline.

  14. The beauty is, it is a free country, for now. Conner does not have to take the job at all.
    He can take a different job, different industry, be self-employed, whatever. If he does not want the job, another guy would jump at opportunity to make over $1 million in only a year.

  15. This is a win-win. Cards needed some depth at running back and Conner should get a solid amount of carries in this backfield.

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