If the Tennessee Titans cannot deal Chris Johnson prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, it is expected that the former 2,000 yard rusher will be released. Among numerous of teams, the New York Jets have been mentioned as possible suitors for the veteran running back.
CJ2K was drafted by the Titans in the first round in 2008, with the No. 24 overall pick. Coming out of East Carolina, Johnson is an explosive back possessing great speed and elusiveness. Since 2008, the Florida native has recorded nearly 8,000 rushing yards, paired with 50 rushing touchdowns. As a receiving back, Johnson has over 2,000 yards and eight touchdowns, increasing his value. Other than missing one game in his rookie campaign, No.28 has not missed a game, proving that he is a durable player. At 28-years-old, Johnson is at the home stretch of his career and his numbers have declined since his breakout performance in sophomore season when he recorded over 2,000 yards.
Johnson is a playmaker, who can break out a long run on any given moment. Joining the crowded backfield in New York would complement the bruising back Chris Ivory, creating a dynamic duo that would keep defenses off-guard. Gang Green has addressed its desperate need of playmakers by signing WR Eric Decker and veteran quarterback Michael Vick, but adding a true No.1 running back would benefit the previously struggling offense. If Johnson winds up wearing green and white next season, he would bring not only a running attack, but he would help in the passing game as well.
The Jets are a West Coast team, relying on a strong rushing offense to complement the passing game. Johnson would pose a threat in both phases of offense and would be a great weapon for second-year quarterback Geno Smith. He can shoulder a heavy workload, having been durable in his six seasons in Tennessee while averaging 290-plus rushes per year. He is also reliable in the passing game, having averaged over 45 receptions per season. Johnson is most effective running down field and getting into open space, but his production off the screen can slow down pass rushers from getting to Smith.
If CJ2K is released in the next few weeks, expect the Jets to take a stab at the veteran running back. Johnson may come with a high price tag, but the Green and White has the cap room to reel in the expected free agent. Adding another playmaker of Johnson's caliber can improve both the rushing and passing games, and can put the Jets on the right track for a successful season. Even though his production has declined over the past few years, a change of scenery may not only benefit Johnson, but the Jets as well.