Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comA week ago when Chris Johnson was cut by the Titans, PFT reported that Johnson would pick his new team by the middle of this week. Well the middle of this week has come and gone and Johnson is still a free agent, looking for a new home.
Florio makes some suggestions as to why this might be.
… maybe the devaluation of the tailback position continues, with Johnson being the latest visit of the trend toward the passing game and away from workhorse running backs.
With the draft less than four weeks away, it possibly could stay that way until after teams with lingering needs at the position try to address those needs with incoming rookies.
Unless, of course, Johnson currently is negotiating with one or more teams who have insisted on secrecy…
From what we hear, the Jets have urged the folks they’ve negotiated with to keep quiet about the matters … could the Jets be one of the teams insisting in secrecy that Florio hints at?
Since the beginning, there’s been an “under the radar” team. NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Jets were the team that “came closest” to trading for Johnson.
The Jets are more than likely going to add some running backs through the NFL draft, so if the Jets and Johnson are interested in coming to terms there might be some concern about just what sort of running back (or two) the Jets can find in the draft … more than likely they would draft someone who would be in competition for Bilal Powell’s job and not so much Johnson’s … assuming he even went to New York.
Regardless, Adam Schein shares his thoughts on NFL.com why Johnson could still be an effective part of an NFL team and why he thinks the Jets are the best match for the former Titan, double secret negotiations or not.
Johnson is most certainly not an upper-echelon back these days, but he can give you 15 carries and catch the ball out of the backfield. He can help teams — IF he is willing to check his ego at the door.
Personally, I think the best fit is with the New York Jets. Chris Ivory currently tops the depth chart at running back for Gang Green. I like Ivory. He has some sizzle. But he can’t stay healthy for an entire campaign. A Johnson-Ivory tandem would be solid, and an upgrade for New York. It’s logical.
In addition to Schein, ESPN’s Jon Clayton thinks New York will be Johnson’s next home, as does CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora.
In the end, given his lack of productivity lately, I still don’t expect Johnson to sign a lucrative deal. If he can get $2 million guaranteed with the chance to earn more in incentives, that might be as good as it gets. And I’ve been saying for weeks I expect the Jets to be a likely landing spot for him and I’ve heard nothing to change my thinking lately. So I’ve still got him penciled in to a team so lacking in explosion on offense.
Simply adding Chris Johnson won’t make the Jets an explosive offense, but adding Johnson along with their signing of Eric Decker, Mike Vick and whomever they come up with in the draft at receiver, tight end and/or running back could be enough to effect some change on this group.
But for now, we’ll just have to wait, just like Chris Johnson and the Jets seem to be.