Since Chris Johnson became a free agent the Jets had him on their radar. Jets like to fly and a pilot with several hours and mileage on his resume is usually a good thing. But the NFL's Jets and other teams look at running backs like Johnson and realize that he's on the decline since he never really showed he was worthy of his contract after rushing for over 2,000 yards in 2009. Since then he's averaged 1,182 yards a season which is only 73 yards a game on the ground. It doesn't sound like much but the numbers tell a different story and rushing for nearly 1,200 yards a year isn't bad at all considering his surroundings and the numbers. Let me explain!
The upside to Chris Johnson is that he's been extremely durable throughout his career and is only 28 years old. He's only missed one game in his six year career and that was in his rookie season. His carries have decreased over the past 3 seasons so he may not be worn out just yet. We still see Johnson outrun the opposition on occasion for a 70+ yard touchdown. He also displays the ability to make catches out of the backfield. Sometimes that opens up the gridiron wide for a guy of his speed and quickness to take advantage of in the open field
Skeptics will say that since he never really missed a game and has carried the ball so often while taking countless hits, that he's bound or even due for an injury. Others believe the veteran is truly on the decline of a RB's fame who may end up being short lived. Maybe a new environment with help in the backfield like Chris Ivory who takes a pounding himself, will rejuvenate the once known CJ2K who is 1 of only 7 running backs who have ever ran for 2,000 yards or more. He can take over as the featured back of this offense despite what other analysts say. Johnson is a guy you want on the field because he possesses the rare ability to juke out and leave the defense in the dust. I understand that he had his worst season last year but look how bad that offense was. They went through QB's, lost WR's and had inexperienced players and personnel all around them.
I mentioned that Chris Johnson has been noted as being on the decline as the statistics indicate. Inside those stats you'll see that he had less carries per game which skews the numbers for a player like Johnson who can break a long touchdown run or reception at any given time. For those who remember the great Barry Sanders, he would lose yards on 4 or 5 consecutive plays until he finally busted through for an 50 yard run.
I'm not saying Chris Johnson is anywhere near as good as Sanders but the similarities are there. Plus the fact that they both have played on terrible teams without a legit quarterback and lack of run protection. Emmitt Smith would not be the all time leading rusher had he not played for the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets actually have a pretty good offensive line with a sophomore quarterback who's progressing in Geno Smith or the arm, speed and experience that defenses also have to account for with Michael Vick. Then there's newly acquired Eric Decker, the speedy slot receiver Jeremy Kerley and a possible return of Santonio Holmes may just sell Chris Johnson on the idea of playing for Gang Green.
I believe that Chris Johnson does have some fuel for the Jets tank and can contribute in a big way if they come to terms. Not only that but make sure he touches the ball about 20 times a game because odds are at least one of those plays will be a big one. The terms I speak of won't include a 6 year deal for $90 million. He may get 2 years $10 million if he's lucky and he must understand that given his current value in the league today and not allow ego and agents to interfere with his heart. Everyone's getting paid some sweet cash so that shouldn't matter as much especially in a short term deal.
Let's face it, the RB is a young mans position. That's why Johnson became CJ2K in his second season when he joined the 2,000 yard club with the Tennessee Titans. He won't be running that far again but he can add mileage to his pilot hours and steer the Jets on a direct path. Like I said before, he has the experience and along with that come a few tricks. The final question is, does Chris Johnson want to play football for the love of the game and to win or is it the product it produces, money!? If he's offered multiple contracts then that question may be answered.