Chad Johnson: 5 Teams That Can Afford to Take the Risk of Signing Johnson
The wide receiver formerly known as Ochocinco is one of the most peculiar players in NFL history.
His on-the-field effort and game preparation have never been in question. Even at age 34, Johnson is still in great shape and truly believes he can be one of the best wideouts in the NFL.
His off-the-field antics are what get him in trouble, though. Johnson has constantly been fined by the league throughout his career and has always been a distraction to his team.
Now that he is a free agent once again for issues off the field, most teams won’t even consider adding him to their roster.
Here are five teams that need a wide receiver, though, and should take the risk on signing Chad Johnson.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Cleveland Browns can use all the help at wide receiver they can get. They went out and drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round of the 2012 draft, but they never addressed the wide receiver position, so he has nobody to throw to.
Also, signing Johnson wouldn’t be much of a risk to the Browns since they aren’t expected to win many games this season as it is.
Johnson might lack the separation speed he once had, but he can certainly still catch the ball and make things happen once the ball is in his hands.
If nothing else, having Chad Johnson in their starting lineup will make people talk about the Cleveland Browns for the first time in a while.
Cam Newton has a speed wide receiver to stretch the field in Steve Smith, but he lacks a possession wide receiver that has experience catching balls over the middle.
With his decrease in speed, Johnson could thrive in this role for Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
I know some people may find this statement crazy, but Johnson could also be a leader and mentor if his teammates just focus on his effort on the field and not off of it.
It may scare some people to think about Smith and Johnson together in the same starting lineup, but if nothing else, they will certainly come up with some entertaining touchdown celebrations.
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted their wide receiver of the future in the first round of the 2012 draft, Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon actually reminds me a lot of Chad Johnson when he was in his prime. They both have very similar builds and can be extremely dynamic with the ball in their hands.
Love him or hate him, you can’t argue that Johnson was one of the most dominant wide receivers in the league from 2002-2009. Over this time, Johnson had four seasons with over 90 catches and seven seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards.
Blackmon could certainly learn a tremendous amount from Johnson if he could ever just focus on football for a full season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Every wide receiver the Chicago Bears have in their lineup right now comes with a ton of baggage.
This offseason, the team traded for Brandon Marshall, formerly with the Miami Dolphins. This trade came just days after a story broke of an incident where Marshall allegedly punched a woman in the face in a nightclub in New York.
The team’s second wide receiver is Devin Hester. Hester doesn’t have any off-the-field issues, but he started his career primarily as a cornerback and kick returner and has yet to figure out how to succeed at wide receiver.
Another troubled wide receiver on the Bears’ roster is rookie Alshon Jeffrey, who they drafted out of South Carolina. Jeffrey struggled with his weight during his final season at South Carolina and then scored a dreadful 10 on the Wonderlic test at the NFL combine.
With all of these disgruntled wide receivers already on the roster, how could taking a risk on Chad Johnson really do anything negative for this wide receiver group?
New York Jets
If Johnson went to the New York Jets, that would be the third AFC East team he has played on in the past two seasons.
The Jets need a ton of help at wide receiver.
Their current starters are Santonio Holmes, who is nursing a rib injury, and Stephen Hill, who is a rookie.
They also have absolutely no depth with Jeremy Kerley, who is also injured, Patrick Turner, who has only 10 receptions in three seasons in the NFL and Chaz Schilens, who isn’t even expected to make the final roster.
Mark Sanchez needs someone with experience to throw the ball to for the Jets to have a successful passing game this season. Chad Johnson appears to be one of the only players left on the market.