Updates from Tuesday, April 22
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 has the latest on Chad Johnson's contract with Montreal:
The 1-year contract that Chad Johnson signed with CFL's Montreal Alouettes is worth $70K in Canadian currency, source tells @FOXSports1— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) April 22, 2014
Six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson has found an opportunity to extend his career in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes, agreeing to a deal with the team on Thursday.
The CFL's official feed broke the news, and the Alouettes captured Johnson putting pen to paper with Montreal vice president and general manger Jim Popp at his side:
Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun provided comments from Johnson:
#Alouettes receiver Chad Johnson: "It’s just awesome to be a part of something again. I just want to play football."— Kirk Penton (@PentonKirk) April 17, 2014
According to the Alouettes' Facebook page, the deal runs for two years, suggesting that Johnson will finish his days on the gridiron in Montreal since he's already 36 years old. That is, if he can prove capable of competing in the CFL in the first place, which is no guarantee.
However, Popp seemed to think that Johnson did well enough in his tryout to warrant the contract:
A recent post on Instagram showed Johnson running a sharp slant route and getting a step on an unknown cornerback on a deep route, suggesting he might still have something left in the tank:
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora provided some insight into what Johnson was doing to prepare for his tryout for Montreal:
Montreal (CFL) is taking upcoming workout with Chad Johnson seriously. He's been training hard w/Cris Carter, whose son plays for Montreal— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 12, 2014
How will Chad Johnson fare in the CFL?
Johnson was among the NFL's best receivers when he was in his prime, stringing together six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons at his peak from 2002 through 2007 as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he hasn't played a down in a significant game since his lackluster stint with the New England Patriots in 2011.
The Miami Dolphins took a chance on Johnson prior to the 2012 campaign, but after he was arrested and charged with simple domestic battery, Miami terminated his contract before he made a regular-season appearance.
Bringing in a colorful personality such as Johnson will enhance publicity for the CFL and the Alouettes organization in particular, but this could turn out to be just a splash move to generate attention rather than something that will ultimately help the team.
Drew Edwards of The Scratching Post alluded to the attention Johnson would inevitably command in his first action for the Alouettes:
Then again, the level of competition he will face in Canada should be significantly worse, so perhaps he'll produce at a high level. Since winning back-to-back Grey Cups—the CFL version of the Super Bowl—in 2009 and 2010, Montreal has struggled to thrive in the playoffs. Johnson may be the spark the Alouettes need, both in terms of his level of play and the enthusiasm and passion he brings to the locker room.
This isn't a long-term investment by Popp, though, so even if the Johnson experiment blows up in a bad way, it should be rather easy to dispose of him. One potential scenario that could be dangerous is Johnson developing a superiority complex having starred in the NFL in the past, then trying to impose his influence with too much zeal.
Evidently, Popp and the Montreal front office don't believe that will be a problem. This acquisition of Johnson therefore seems like a win for both sides and should help the Alouettes' efforts to return to prominence in the CFL postseason.