Sheets, who has spent the last two seasons with the Dolphins since signing off San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad in 2009, apparently confirmed his departure on Twitter, with a message which simply said, “Goodbye Miami.”
The Dolphins’ organization has not yet confirmed the move.
Sheets missed the 2010 season with a torn Achilles tendon, and has struggled to recapture the sub-4.3 speed he possessed before the injury.
Sheets did not appear to be hitting the hole with any real force, particularly against Atlanta, and the Dolphins have decided that he is no longer needed in Miami.
Johnson, meanwhile, has been signed by the Dolphins, although he is by no means a direct replacement for Sheets.
Johnson’s powerful running style has amassed him 6,221 rushing yards and 61 touchdowns over his career, although he has played just 16 games since 2010. Last season, he featured in just two games for Washington, with just five carries.
However, the addition is a sign that Miami may want more from second-round pick Daniel Thomas.
While Thomas has not played poorly, he has not done a lot of note over training camp and preseason, albeit behind a very questionable offensive line. The addition of Johnson will be competition for the rookie, and Lex Hilliard, who is also a strong, downhill runner.
Thomas, however, is early into his NFL career, and still adapting to the physicality of the league, as well as the new playbook. Miami will be patient with him, and hope that playing alongside a veteran like Johnson may also help his development.
Hilliard, meanwhile, may be under more threat from the signing, despite an impressive showing against Carolina with limited carries. Hilliard’s performance against Tampa Bay this weekend will now be under more scrutiny, as will Johnson’s return to action.
Johnson has been a free agent since his release from Washington back in September 2010, just six months after he signed at three-year deal with the organization worth around $12 million.
A former first-round pick for the Chiefs in 2003, his career started promisingly when he ran for over 1,700 yards in both 2005 and 2006, scoring 37 touchdowns, but it has been on a downwards spiral since then.
His criminal history will be a concern for fans, having been arrested several times since 2003, most recently being sentenced to two years probation in March 2009, but the Dolphins will hope that these issues are now behind him.
If so, expect Johnson to pressure Thomas for playing time, but the 31-year-old addition will not fill the void left by Sheets, and as a result, Miami are still in the market for another running back.
Meanwhile, expect another addition at running back soon, as Miami search for a player capable of filling Reggie Bush’s boots should the new signing suffer an injury.