Updates from Monday, April 21
Chris Johnson's stay on the free-agent market was short, as the former Tennessee Titans running back has agreed to terms with the New York Jets on a two-year contract.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the agreement on Wednesday:
Former Titans RB Chris Johnson reached agreement with Jets on a two-year deal, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 16, 2014
The Jets' Twitter account confirmed the news and snapped a picture of their new running back signing his contract:
Pro Football Talk and Schefter had terms of the deal for Johnson:
Per source, Chris Johnson's two-year deal has a base value of $8 million, with another $1 million available in incentives based on yardage.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 16, 2014
RB Chris Johnson's 2-year deal with Jets has a team option in it for year two. Jets have option to pick up year two at $4M in February 2015.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 16, 2014
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean provides comments from Johnson on being a Jet, and how his time with the Titans ended:
Chris Johnson said the #Titans never asked him to take a pay cut, or to restructure his contract to stay.— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) April 16, 2014
Johnson later discussed his decision to come to New York (via Jane McManus of ESPN New York):
"They know how to win," Chris Johnson on one of the reasons he came to the Jets.— Jane McManus (@janesports) April 17, 2014
ESPN's Adam Schefter notes that Johnson's knee surgery was a concern for the Jets in signing the deal:
Jets have some concerns about condition of RB Chris Johnson's knee, and the arthritis in it, but not enough not to sign him to 2-year deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 17, 2014
Johnson responded to that report on Thursday (via Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday):
CJ2K laughs when asked re: report there's arthritis in his surgically-repaired knee. "That's not accurate." #jets— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) April 17, 2014
he man formerly known as CJ2K for his 2,006 rushing yards in 2009 was released by the Titans after six years of service as the franchise sought to go a different direction at the position and get out from under his lofty contract.
For his part, Johnson took the news of his release in stride:
“I’d like to thank all of my teammates, the fans, the staff and the coaches who have supported me ... http://t.co/Sl78B1yWIe— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) April 4, 2014
Johnson quickly finding a new home is not a shock, as the East Carolina product continues to be one of the NFL's most explosive and consistent runners. As Schefter details, he has the longest streak of 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the league:
Chris Johnson's streak of 6 straight 1,000-yd seasons is longest active streak in NFL. Nobody has current streak longer than three years.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2014
Now 28 years of age, this type of production from Johnson is tough to ignore. He was a hot name on the trade market, but every team in the running elected to wait it out:
Four teams that discussed a potential trade for RB Chris Johnson, but ultimately declined to do so, were the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Falcons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2014
Johnson rushed for 1,077 yards and scored 10 times (six rushing, four receiving TDs) on a 3.9 yards-per-carry average last season—the lowest of his career—with the help of the No. 5 run-blocking line in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Johnson's best fit is as the head of a two- or three-back committee on a team that spreads the field wide and opens up plenty of seams for him in the front seven. With a semi-steady diet of touches, Johnson might be great just often enough to be good.
Johnson will get that chance in his new environment. The Jets currently feature Chris Ivory, who is more of a bruising running back. Johnson's skill set should complement him well and enable New York to become a bit more versatile offensively.
He's still an effective back when asked to simply tote the ball and explode through the seams. Fully motivated, healthy and with new surroundings of his choosing, Johnson may turn out to be one of the NFL's better bounce-back stories in 2014.