In a development that was predicted by yours truly, the Jets have brought in former Titans running back Chris Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, according to team sources. The Jets are the first team to host Johnson since his release from Tennessee.
It will be intriguing to see if a deal gets done and whether Johnson has come to terms with his value in the marketplace. Initial reports indicated that he was seeking a deal in line with what he was earning with the Titans. In the modern NFL landscape, where teams regularly find Pro Bowl caliber running backs in the late rounds of the draft, we are moving away from the era where RBs command top dollar on the open market.
The Jets already possess one bruiser in the backfield in Chris Ivory, who is coming off a career year and would make a perfect complement for Johnson's open field skills. Geno Smith can use all the help he can get in his second season, and Chris Johnson's ability to turn short passes into long gains would be a boon for his development.
If the Jets can't get a deal done with Johnson, the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons have all indicated interest. The Dolphins have already brought in Knowshon Moreno to pair with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, so it is unclear how big of a role Johnson would fill. The Bills are in an interesting spot, as on paper they possess one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. However, both are free agents after the upcoming season and this could be a preemptive strike by Buffalo to fill the void.
The team that makes the most sense for Johnson, outside of the Jets, would be Atlanta. Jacquizz Rodgers will never be an every down back and it's unclear if Steven Jackson can remain healthy and regain his form as he enters his twilight years. Playing on the fast track in the Georgia Dome could prove more alluring for Johnson, if the he and the Jets are unable to strike a deal.