Which team signs Chris Johnson?
April, 4, 2014
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
The Tennessee Titans released running back Chris Johnson on Friday.
The Titans will save $4 million with the move.
The Titans will save $4 million with the move.
Where Chris Johnson might end up
Our NFL Nation reporters assess the level of interest in signing Johnson.
|Team||Quick Take||Chances of Signing|
|The Cowboys should have drafted Johnson in 2008 instead of Felix Jones and had the chance to have him at his most effective. And the Cowboys have DeMarco Murray to be their bell-cow runner. They like what Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle can do behind Murray. If Johnson would want to come in as a backup and third-down back at a low cost, then maybe something could be done. -- Todd Archer||Low|
|The Giants already have signed Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis this offseason, and they expect 2012 first-round draft pick David Wilson to make a full recovery from neck surgery, so there likely aren't carries to go around. Even if there were, Tom Coughlin tends to look for power running backs who are willing and able pass protectors, rather than home run hitters. Johnson doesn't fit the description. -- Dan Graziano||Low|
|There simply isn't a fit, even if Chip Kelly is one of the most imaginative coaches going right now. The Eagles have LeSean McCoy, one of the best running backs in the NFL. They acquired Darren Sproles from the New Orleans Saints to fill a third-down, return specialist role. They have Bryce Brown, who might be one of the better third runners in the NFL. Let's turn this around for a second: Why would Johnson have interest in the Eagles? There just isn't enough room on the roster. -- Todd Archer||Low|
|The Redskins already have Alfred Morris and plan to use the same run game that they've used the past couple of seasons -- during which time he managed a combined 2,888 yards. They would like more speed and perhaps a stronger pass-catching threat. Johnson has caught 272 career passes, but he'll have better chances at finding more of an all-around role elsewhere. -- John Keim||Low|
|The Cardinals have their backfield of the future in Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor and will continue to complement them with wily veterans. But with Ellington so similar to Johnson, it's hard to see them on the field together and harder to see Arizona paying Johnson what he wants. -- Josh Weinfuss||Low|
|The 49ers are pretty set at running back with Frank Gore still a workhorse and still being paid like one. Plus, the team is confident Marcus Lattimore will be ready to make a contribution this season after missing last year with a torn ACL. The fit for Johnson doesn't seem natural here. -- Bill Williamson||Low|
|Five games into 2013, the Rams found their featured back in Zac Stacy and they're high on second-year back Benny Cunningham. But Johnson is a former Titan who played for coach Jeff Fisher and he's always willing to at least take a look at his former players. -- Nick Wagoner||Medium|
|It would be an enormous surprise if the Seahawks had any interest in running back Chris Johnson. It makes no sense. Seattle has one of the best backs in the league in Marshawn Lynch, a quality backup in Robert Turbin and a player they believe has a bright future in 2013 rookie Christine Michael. -- Terry Blount||Low|
|The Bears have $7.9 million of salary-cap space for 2014 tied up with No. 1 tailback Matt Forte, who rushed for a career-high 1,339 yards last year en route to being named to his second Pro Bowl. Chicago will need to replace veteran Michael Bush, whom the Bears cut at the onset of free agency, but it's difficult to imagine the team adding another expensive, high-profile rusher to the mix. -- Michael C. Wright||Low|
|The Lions are not likely to have any interest in Johnson for three reasons: Reggie Bush. Joique Bell. No cap room. Any signing of Johnson would make little to no sense for Detroit; running back is one of the most stable spots on the roster. -- Michael Rothstein||Low|
|The Packers have as deep a running back group as they've had in coach Mike McCarthy's tenure. They have a franchise back in Eddie Lacy, the reigning offensive rookie of the year. But they also have capable backups in James Starks, DuJuan Harris and Johnathan Franklin. If there's any position that's not a need, it's running back. -- Rob Demovsky||Low|
|Johnson and Adrian Peterson have had an ongoing back and forth over who's the best running back in the game, and if Johnson wants to continue that competition, signing with a team where he'd split carries with Peterson probably isn't the best course of action. As tantalizing as it is to imagine both players on the same team, Johnson will want a bigger opportunity than the Vikings would provide him. -- Ben Goessling||Low|
|Although word out of Tennessee had Johnson linked to Atlanta, that certainly didn't come from the Falcons' side. Of course, any team could use Johnson's blazing speed out of the backfield. But his price tag would have to be significantly lower for the Falcons even to consider him, and I don't see that being the case. -- Vaughn McClure||Low|
|If there was an option below "low," I would go with that. The Panthers already are full at running back with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and Kenjon Barner. They were so full a year ago, they couldn't get Barner on the field for a fair look. That they can't shed Williams or Stewart even if they wanted to because of their large contracts means they're not going to spend more at that position. -- David Newton||Low|
|The Saints will likely have zero interest since they're so well-stocked at running back and don't have much salary-cap space. Those two factors already led them to trade away veteran running back Darren Sproles this offseason. -- Mike Triplett||Low|
|The Bucs are getting Doug Martin back from an injury and have plenty of depth behind him with Mike James and Bobby Rainey. -- Pat Yasinskas||Low|
|Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are set to become free agents after this season, but that doesn't mean there is a spot for Johnson. There simply isn't any room in the Bills' backfield. -- Mike Rodak||Low|
|Two weeks ago, Miami's interest in Johnson may have been higher. But the recent signing of projected starting tailback Knowshon Moreno in free agency closed the door on that possibility. -- James Walker||Low|
|The Patriots have a need at the position after LeGarrette Blount signed with the Steelers, but there is doubt that they'd be aggressive suitors for Johnson, in part because of his limitations in pass protection and how highly the team values that skill with its backs. Just don't see the Patriots getting into any type of bidding competition at a position they have shied away from spending even moderate dollars the last two years. -- Mike Reiss||Low|
|The Jets have been exploring the running back market since Day 1 of free agency. They need speed and Johnson provides that. Problem is, his asking price probably will be too high for the frugal Jets. -- Rich Cimini||Medium|
|Since their initial spending spree during free agency's first week, the Broncos have shied from veteran players looking for the big payday. They have just under $6 million in workable salary cap remaining and are looking for some help on the offensive line. -- Jeff Legwold||Low|
|While it might be fun to contemplate, Chris Johnson won't be coming to Kansas City. The Chiefs don't have enough footballs to keep him and Jamaal Charles happy. -- Adam Teicher||Low|
|The Al Davis Oakland Raiders would have jumped at the chance to sign someone like the speedy and accomplished Chris Johnson, no matter who else was on the roster. But this regime of Reggie McKenzie has already inked two high-profile backs in free agent Maurice Jones-Drew and by re-signing Darren McFadden. They also have CFL Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets, last year's draft pick in Latavius Murray and Jeremy Stewart. Sorry Chris, the inn is full. -- Paul Gutierrez||Low|
|The Chargers have their featured back in Ryan Mathews and signed Donald Brown to be his backup. Along with Danny Woodhead, their backfield is already crowded. -- Adam Teicher||Low|
|The Ravens definitely need to add another running back with Ray Rice's legal issue and Bernard Pierce's injury history. But Johnson has as much wear and tear as Rice. So there shouldn't be any interest in adding another back who is past his prime. -- Jamison Hensley||Low|
|With BenJarvus Green-Ellis entering his final season, and H-back Orson Charles dealing with a legal issue, the Bengals will need another running back soon. The problem with Johnson, though, is that he doesn't really fit the mold of back they would be interested in. Cincinnati will need more of a bruiser to pair with the shifty, speedy Giovani Bernard. The draft is where the Bengals might ultimately make a running back move. -- Coley Harvey||Low|
|Why sign another back after already signing Ben Tate in free agency? Because he's one of the fastest players in the league, and because the combination of speed with Johnson and power with Tate is pretty appealing. Add a receiver in the draft and the Browns might have a little something-something. But ... Johnson is 28, his per-carry average dropped below 4 yards in 2013 and the Browns have all those picks in the draft, where they're more likely to improve the position. -- Pat McManamon||Low|
|The Steelers have no room -- either under the salary cap or in their backfield -- for Johnson. They could use a smaller, speedier back to complement Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, but they will find that player in the draft. -- Scott Brown||Low|
|The Texans aren't interested in spending much in free agency, and while running backs have been cheaply gotten this offseason, I'd bet Chris Johnson would want more than he'd get here. Houston will find the running back who complements Arian Foster in the draft. -- Tania Ganguli||Low|
|Johnson would immediately start for the Colts, but they're committed to Trent Richardson, Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. Those three -- if healthy -- will give the Colts a ground game to go with quarterback Andrew Luck's passing game. -- Mike Wells||Low|
|The Jaguars signed Toby Gerhart in free agency to be the team's No. 1 back, but they do need a complementary back -- especially one with speed and elusiveness. Jordan Todman is the first option there, though he's not a burner. The Jaguars are going to give Denard Robinson a good, long look. He was disappointing as a rookie last season but he has bulked up and worked on ball-security issues. -- Michael DiRocco||Low|
1:00 PM ET New Orleans Atlanta 1:00 PM ET Minnesota St. Louis 1:00 PM ET Cleveland Pittsburgh 1:00 PM ET Jacksonville Philadelphia 1:00 PM ET Oakland New York 1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Baltimore 1:00 PM ET Buffalo Chicago 1:00 PM ET Washington Houston 1:00 PM ET Tennessee Kansas City 1:00 PM ET New England Miami 4:25 PM ET Carolina Tampa Bay 4:25 PM ET San Francisco Dallas 8:30 PM ET Indianapolis Denver