If you thought we heard the last from troubled receiver Chad Johnson in the NFL, think again. He wants back in – and the Houston Texans may be his first choice of a new home.
Johnson broke his silence last Friday, teaming up with good buddy Andre Johnson when chatting to reporters about a possible return. Andre Johnson has become the Texans new lead recruit man, vying for Johnson and also free agent safety Ed Reed last week.
Johnson expressed his interest in joining the Texans and reviving his NFL career, a year after he was cut by the Dolphins for assaulting his ex-wife. As it stands all this Johnson-Johnson talk really means nothing until the Texans show some real interest, or at least set up a meeting with the 35-year old. But given the Texans lack of interest in diva receivers in years past, it’s doubtful general manager Rick Smith considers this an option.
Since we’re talking about it though, Smith would have good reason to stay away. Even if the Texans are in the market for a receiver to line-up opposite Andre Johnson, the draft route is probably the better option for the Texans to take heading into the long term.
But what should stop the Texans from signing Johnson, aside from his off-field troubles, is his play. Even during his prime, he was never known as a disciplined route runner. And with his best years behind him, it’s hard to see any team signing him to a one or two year deal worth a ton of money, and of course a lot of baggage.
At the very best, signing Johnson would be a project for head coach Gary Kubiak – a coach that isn’t used to dealing with uncooperative players. The biggest project on the Texans right now is finding a safety to replace Glover Quin, alongside a few training camp battles at the linebacker spot. Finding a wide receiver is probably a few spots down the list.
If there’s a positive here, it’s that Johnson would probably average a few more catches and touchdowns than he did during his time in New England. Teams like to double-cover Andre Johnson, leaving other guys open. So it’s safe to say Chad would have more than 15-receptions and one score like he did in 2011.
Still, not knowing the Texans playbook is a problem – something he doesn’t always like to learn – along with developing a relationship with Matt Schaub in the span of perhaps a year or two.
The Texans need a receiver, a number two guy, and one to replace Kevin Walter, but they aren’t desperate. They certainly don’t need someone calling Schaub out on Twitter in six months time, either. If the team wants to sign someone via free agency, Brandon Lloyd could be the better option. At 35, Johnson deserves a second chance. Probably with a team that is already stacked at wide receiver though, and needs a mentor. Not one that is moving forward and looking towards developing a young guy.
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