31-Year-Old Running Back – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Football Outlook
It's clear Johnson has passed his prime, but the 31-year-old back still managed to retain a roster spot with the Cardinals the past two seasons. After a bounce-back 2015 campaign, he found himself on ...
Chris Johnson Contract Information:
Signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals in March of 2016.
Johnson (groin) will seek out the best fit as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. "I feel at this point in my career if it's not a situation where a team wants to bring me in to be a starter, I definitely need to be somewhere where I have a role," Johnson said on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "I need to be involved. At this point in my career, I don't want to sit on the sideline. I want to get in the game."
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|Rushing||Rush Distance||Big Rush Games||Receiving||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
|2017 Proj||31||Subscribe now to see our 2017 projections for Chris Johnson|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Rushing Stats||Red Zone Runs||Receiving Stats||Red Zone Targets|
|2017 Proj||31||Subscribe now to see our 2017 projections for Chris Johnson|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Rushing||Rush Distance||Receiving||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Red Zone Runs||Red Zone Targets|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Chris Johnson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
At some point in the middle of his career, Johnson's proud and boastful nature became a convenient putdown for the NFL populace. Okay, he's never rushing for 2,000 yards again, we got that. But he was a steady performer for the Jets two years ago (4.3 YPC) and he didn't embarrass himself with the Cardinals last year. If you grade all the running backs over the three months that Johnson was in uniform, he comes in as the No. 27 player (basic scoring); not bad for someone who was ignored in the passing game. A broken tibia cost him the final month, plus the playoffs. While the Cardinals re-signed Johnson and have been talking him up in the spring, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room - David Johnson went bonkers after the CJ injury last year and seems to have a hammerlock on the starting gig.
Johnson may not have landed in the Arizona desert without injuries afflicting nearly every member of the backfield at some point, but 2015 third-round pick David Johnson's lingering hamstring strain was likely the impetus for an agreement. The running back will seek to join the ranks of veterans -- Karlos Dansby, Antonio Cromartie, Larry Foote, and John Abraham are previous examples -- to receive one-year deals with the Cardinals in the Steve Keim regime and prosper. While Chris Johnson will likely play second fiddle to Andre Ellington off the bat, Ellington's medical history is evidence that the seven-year pro has been presented with a great opportunity to contribute. However, a fair expectation is a complementary role in the vein of last year with the Jets, in which Chris Johnson racked up 155 carries for 663 yards (4.3 YPC), 24 receptions (on 34 targets) for 151 yards, and two total touchdowns across 16 games.
After six years of sometimes-elite and sometimes-uninspiring play with the Titans, Johnson has moved on to his second NFL franchise. Owner of the fastest 40 time (4.24) and sixth-best rushing season (2,006 yards in 2009) in NFL history, the man they call CJ2K comes to the Jets with his star somewhat dimmed. While he cleared 1,000 rushing yards for the sixth time in six seasons last year, Johnson did so with a career-low 3.9 YPC He also had one of the lowest yards-after-contact averages among NFL running backs and cleared 100 yards rushing in just two games. However, the Jets will certainly value the hands he showed last year Ė targeted 52 times, he caught 42 passes for an outstanding (and career-high) 80.8 percent catch rate. Although New York's offense has been much maligned, the marriage of Gang Green and CJ2K may be one that's good for both parties. The Jets have long needed someone with Johnson's receiving skills and big-play ability, while Johnson benefits from leaving a Titans franchise that suffered mightily from poor quarterback play and had only a middling defense. The Jets' defense is noticeably better, and while Geno Smith struggled with turnovers for much of last season, he came on down the stretch. With the addition of Michael Vick added to the mix, the Jets arguably offer more upside at the quarterback position than Jake Locker does in Tennessee. The biggest question mark with Johnson this year is his role. Last season, he ceded almost all the Titans' goal-line work to Shonn Greene and Jackie Battle, and in fact has only 11 carries from inside the five to show for the last three years combined. That situation may not change with the Jets, as they like Chris Ivory's physical style in the red zone; worse, Johnson only outrushed Ivory by 244 yards last year despite carrying the ball 97 more times. He'll need to show renewed burst and find some physicality this year if he wants to impress coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinwheg into giving him the bigger share of the Jets' carries.
Johnson rebounded somewhat from a disappointing 2011 season in 2012, but he still had seven games last year in which he rushed for fewer than 60 yards and failed to score. And were it not for three touchdown runs of 80-plus yards he would have averaged less than 4.0 YPC. That said, four of the six "dud" weeks were in the first five weeks of the year, so Johnson improved as the season went on. Moreover, the additions of guards Andy Levitre in free agency and behemoth Chance Warmack in the draft should significantly improve one of the worst run-blocking lines in the NFL. The signing of two-time 1,000-yard back Shonn Greene could mean Johnson loses valuable carries at the goal line, but it's hard to see Greene greatly reducing Johnson's overall workload, given Johnson's vastly greater talent and track record of durability. Johnson can also help in the passing game, though last year's 36 receptions were the fewest of his career.
Johnson was considered a bust last year, and while that may seem harsh after he totaled 1,463 yards, he scored just four touchdowns and finished below 4.0 YPC, easily a career low. In fact, Johnsonís 2.1 YPC after contact tied for 58th in the NFL, and he saw just six goal-line carries, while 25 other backs were given more. Part of the problem was Tennesseeís continuing decline in run blocking, but thereís no doubt Johnson showed up after his holdout a different player, notably lacking explosiveness and unable to make defenders miss on his own. Still, the low TD total was what really killed his value, something that was largely out of his control. With the exciting Jake Locker, who got 8.2 YPA during his rookie season, possibly taking over at QB combined with the likely return of Kenny Britt, an emerging superstar before suffering a knee injury last year, this offense has upside, especially with Jared Cook looking like a breakout candidate at tight end and the team spending a first-round pick on WR Kendall Wright. Johnson is still just 26 years old with a modest career workload and participated in the teamís offseason program for the first time since his 2,006-yard season. After coming off a year in which he took a lot of criticism, he should be motivated for a big rebound in 2012.
After totaling an NFL-record 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009, Johnson came back to earth last year with 1,609 total yards and five fewer touchdowns. There were two main culprits at play: Tennessee went from a pretty good run blocking unit in 2009 to quite possibly the worst in the NFL last season, and Johnson played through a painful thigh injury over a six-game stretch. Both contributed to his YPC dropping from 5.6 all the way to 4.3. Johnson isnít the best goal-line runner (5-for-15 last year), but he remains one of the most explosive backs in the league, as his 13 carries for 20-plus yards tied for the second-most in the NFL. Heís also clearly the Titansí offensive centerpiece despite the addition of Matt Hasselbeck as the team's starting quarterback. Hasselbeck is solid, but has an injury history and the team's backup is rookie Jake Locker. While the shaky QB situation is hardly ideal, itís also something Johnson has dealt with throughout his career in Tennessee, and the teamís offensive line can go nowhere but up. Moreover, wide receiver Kenny Britt is emerging as a legitimate superstar, so opposing defenses canít entirely focus on stopping Johnson.
Johnson was fantasy footballís most valuable player in 2009, setting an NFL-record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage. He led the league in carries (358) and became just the sixth RB in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing. Johnson also finished with 16 total touchdowns, which tied him for the second-most in the NFL. He is a shifty runner, whose 61 broken tackles last year led the league, and his 22 runs for 20-plus yards were 10 more than the next highest (Adrian Peterson), so Johnsonís combination of speed and strength is impressive. In fact, the three longest runs in the league last year were all by him (91, 89, 85). Heís proven plenty durable, showing no signs of slowing down while averaging 26.3 rushing attempts over the final 10 weeks, which is a season pace of 421 carries. Still, thatís a heavy workload (he totaled 408 touches on the year) for a back whoís 5-11, 200, and coach Jeff Fisher has stated his desire to lessen Johnsonís mileage in 2010. Johnson ended last season with 11 straight 100-yard rushing games, and 10 of those came after Vince Young took over starting quarterback duties. Young enters 2010 as the unquestioned starter, so while Johnson may see a decrease in carries, the Titansí offensive philosophy should remain ground-heavy. Johnsonís role as goal-line back should remain secure with LenDale White gone, and considering 18 other running backs had as many or more goalline carries than Johnson last season, more touchdowns could be in store. In fact, only five of Johnsonís 16 scores came from in close, so more easy opportunities would be nice. Thereís some concern over his unhappiness with his contract, and a hold out in training camp canít be ruled out, but Johnson has proven before that heís just fine while working out by himself away from the team, so come Week 1, expect the most explosive player in the league to once again be the focal point of the Titans offense.
As a rookie, Johnson fast established himself as one of the best backs in the league, totaling 1,488 yards with 10 touchdowns despite finishing outside the top-10 in carries. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry, including 6.2 over his final four games, while exhibiting good skills as a receiver. Johnson also received 20 carries in a game just one time, though itís clear the Titans know heís the teamís best offensive player by far, so expect that to change in 2009. Johnson possesses elite speed but is also tough enough to run between the tackles. Elusive in the open field with terrific cutting ability, heís only likely to get better with experience. His one drawback is LenDale Whiteís presence, as Johnson saw just four goal-line carries to Whiteís 21 last season. Because White converted 12 of those into scores, heíll likely remain the No. 1 option from in close. Still, Johnson found the end zone 10 times anyway, and like Brian Westbrook has done for years, heís capable of scoring double-digit touchdowns despite the lack of goal-line work. White averaged just 3.6 YPC over the second half of last year and offers nothing in the passing game, so Johnson is going to take the majority of Tennesseeís carries between the 20s. Despite the loss of Albert Haynesworth, the Titans should once again field one of the NFLís best defenses, and the offensive line is stout as well. The first-round selection of wide receiver Kenny Britt and the free-agent acquisition of Nate Washington could improve the passing game, but this will remain a run-heavy scheme. Johnson is a special talent, more likely to be ranked No. 1 overall next year than to disappoint.
Johnson ran a 4.24 40 at the combine, the fastest of any player. The Titans will have to hope he's not just a workout wonder like last yearís draft pick, Chris Henry, who appears to be a bust. Tennessee has selected a running back in the top two rounds of the draft for three straight years, so the team clearly wants increased production from the position. Coach Jeff Fisher believes Johnson is more than just a track star, because he's able to change direction and has lateral quickness, not just straight-ahead speed. Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger plans on using him all over the field, including lining him up out wide to take advantage of his skills as a receiver. Still, heís more of a third-down back than a workhorse.