Chris Johnson headed elsewhere for '14?
December, 8, 2013
By Tom Carpenter | ESPN.com
The Tennessee Titans have Chris Johnson under contract for another three seasons. However, he carries a salary cap hit of $10 million each of the next two years, and the club is expected to release him during the offseason, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
It's a little difficult to gauge what level of interest Johnson would garner on the free agent market. He will be 29 next season, so he may be able to secure only a short-term contract as he heads toward 30. There is also the declining production we've seen from him in recent years, especially in terms of his yards-per-carry average, which dropped from 4.5 in 2012 to 3.8 in '13. Still, if a GM believes that Johnson has enough left in the tank to be a primary ball carrier, he likely wouldn't hesitate to ink the running back.
Here are five teams which could make sense for Johnson, if he is released:
- St. Louis Rams: Johnson earned the "CJ2K" moniker when he and coach Jeff Fisher were still with the Titans, so there is a logical connection here. Zac Stacy is looking more and more like a reliable every-down back, though, so the Rams might not be interested in Johnson, unless it's to pair Johnson's open-space skills with the human bowling ball Stacy.
- San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews has looked like a play-maker at times this season, but he already has an extensive injury history. Say what you want about Johnson, but he is a durable player, having missed just one game during his entire career. Johnson catching passes from Philip Rivers out of the backfield could make for a nice combination if GM Tom Telesco likes Johnson better than Mathews.