Chris Johnson, your starting running back for the 2014 New York Jets. That has a pretty decent ring to it, right? The veteran running back, who is the only player in the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards in each of the last six seasons, has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with the Jets.
Former Titans RB Chris Johnson reached agreement with Jets on a two-year deal, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 16, 2014
It remains to be seen what the details of the contract are, but we have to believe Johnson is going to be taking a dramatic pay cut after earning over $20 million in the past two seasons. The free-agent market for running backs just hasn’t been there this offseason. Mainly conjecture on my part, but Johnson is probably looking at $3 million per season on this new deal.
The veteran running back and former NFL rushing champion put up over 1,400 total yards and 10 touchdowns last season. It was his most productive overall campaign since a 1,600-yard output back in 2010, the last time he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Consistency has been a major issue for Johnson over the past few seasons.
He’s put up 40 rushing yards or less 17 times in the last three years, which equates to about 35 percent of his outings. On the other hand, Johnson has tallied over 100 rushing yards 11 times during that span. It is, for a lack of a better team, “boom or bust” for Johnson.
He joins a backfield that includes Chris Ivory, who had an up-and-down first season with the Jets in 2013. He averaged 4.6 yards per attempt and put up 833 rushing yards on the season. Adding Johnson to the mix will give fans in New Jersey a new version of “Thunder and Lightning,” an obvious reference to the New York Giants of a few years ago.
Our own Derek White penned an article asking whether the Jets have become the Oakland Raiders of the east coast with all these free agent moves. That might be a tad premature considering we have no idea how these signings are going to pan out. Remember, Michael Vick is projected to compete with Geno Smith for the starting job in 2014. If he wins that outright, not necessarily a long shot at this point, the Jets offense will have a new feel to it in 2014.
That new feel may provide more points than what we saw from a horrendous Jets offense last season, but we can’t be too sure that it’s going to translate to wins on the football field.
Free-agent acquisition Eric Decker will take over as the No. 1 receiver for either Vick or Smith. It remains to be seen exactly how he will translate to the No. 1 wide receiver job for the first time in his career. Vick has been as injury prone as any quarterback in the NFL and has a tendency to turn the ball over (38 in his last 29 starts). Meanwhile, we have no idea what Johnson is going to do on a week-to-week basis.
One thing is for sure, the addition of Johnson seems to indicate that the Jets are much more talented on that side of the ball than they have been in the past. It’s now going to be about adding young play makers to the mix in the upcoming draft. That’s what is going to be key moving forward.
Chris Johnson agrees to Two-year deal with Jets, is this a good move for the team? You tell us.
Photo: Don McPeak, USA Today