5 Potential Destinations For the Unhappy Chris Johnson
Potential Destinations For Chris Johnson
Although putting up a career low 3.9 yards per carry average this season, Chris Johnson feels he deserves more carries. Johnson proved his worth in 2009 when he rushed for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns, but that was five years ago and he clearly isn’t getting any better.
Johnson made it known Wednesday morning that he thinks he deserves more carries and to be treated like the team's “horse” going forward. He carried the ball 279 times this season, which was actually the most he’d been used since 2010. Johnson scored just six touchdowns this season, but apparently to him this is reason to increase his role in an already pass happy league.
Johnson says he hasn’t demanded a trade just yet, but if he isn’t going to be used more he's willing to move on. As a 28-year-old back, Johnson is already past his prime, and scheduled to make $8 million next season. He may be overpriced, making it a possibility that the Tennessee Titans could decide to cut ties with the former All-Pro.
Johnson is likely the only person in the NFL that feels he deserves more than 25 carries a game, but don’t think there aren’t a few teams that wouldn’t mind bringing in the veteran back to provide their team with a new dimension. While no measures have been taken by either side to ensure Johnson plays elsewhere in 2014, the following five teams could all benefit from bringing in the speedy veteran.
The Dallas Cowboys already have DeMarco Murray, who looks like a franchise back, but the three-year pro has yet to play a full NFL season injury-free. This past season it was a nagging knee injury that forced Murray to miss time, and if the Cowboys hope to contend for a Super Bowl next season, they must have a No. 1 running back healthy at all times. As long as the price tag isn’t too high, which I doubt it will be, the Cowboys should at least entertain the idea of having a two-back system in 2014.
New York Giants
Eli Manning threw a career-high 27 interceptions and was sacked 39 times this past season. It’s true the New York Giants struggled from poor offensive line play, but they didn’t have a running back average more than 4.1 yards per carry either. While they need to improve both areas of their offense, bringing in a proven back to either carry the load or share it with Andre Brown –should he return – likely will help take some of the pressure off Manning.
The Carolina Panthers averaged 130 rushing yards per game this season despite using a trio of backs to account for numerous injuries. Of those three, DeAngelo Williams was the only back to average more than 3.8 yards per carry, which isn’t good news for the team going forward. They already have Cam Newton averaging more than five yards per carry, and teaming him with a back who isn’t injury-prone would make the Panthers' offense even more of a threat when running the ball.
Darren McFadden is entering free agency this offseason, and given his injury history it’s unlikely the Oakland Raiders elect to bring him back. Rashad Jennings looked good in a limited role this season, but he’s never proven to be a reliable No. 1 option. A two-back system with him and Johnson could provide the Raiders with a power and speed back to rely on as they likely groom a young QB next season.
The Cleveland Browns made a great move when they traded away Trent Richardson for a first round pick. Now they must find a running back to replace him, and with all arrows pointing towards drafting a rookie QB early, they would be smart to bring in a proven runner to provide some stability. Especially if the team is as high on Johnny Manziel as reports say, pairing him with a speedy back would be the best move management could make.