Free agent running back Chris Johnson spent all day at the Jets practice facilities yesterday, yet he left without a deal. Johnson has been in the New York area since last week causing the entire world to speculate that he would eventually sign with the Jets, but even though the visit was said to have gone well and been productive Johnson left Florham Park without signing a contract.
So what’s the hold up? Money of course.
The Jets gave an offer, now they wait on Johnson’s decision. Johnson obviously still believes he can get more money and/or a bigger role with another team and is waiting for that offer to come in, problem is it doesn’t seem like there are any such offers out there for him.
John Idzik once again determined what he thought Johnson’s value was and made an offer, of course it’s possible Idzik could slightly raise the offer if another team really enters the mix, but Idzik isn’t about to enter a bidding war against himself. So, Idzik let Johnson leave the building, go and enjoy the Nets-Knicks game and see if anyone is willing to offer him more money.
If someone does offer him more money, than oh well Johnson goes to the highest bidder, one that bid more than Idzik was willing to. If not Johnson comes back and signs the contract to join the Jets. Right now it appears Johnson will soon find out the market for his services isn’t nearly as big as he would have hoped, Johnson told reporters at the basketball game last night that he was in no rush to get a deal done and would be taking his time making a decision. Which sounds great, but if there are other teams seriously interested in him then they would probably be in some sort of rush to move the process along before risking out on losing him.
The fact that Johnson is still in the New York/New Jersey area doesn’t mean as much as the fact that he doesn’t appear to have any other visits lined up. At the stage in the free agency process, with the draft rapidly approaching, teams aren’t going to drag their heels if they are seriously interested in a player. If Johnson isn’t receiving inciting offers now, he won’t be receiving any others in the future unless he’s willing to wait and hope for a big injury during training camp/preseason but even that comes with a risk as teams could have already drafted said replacement.
Johnson isn’t the player he was a few years ago, but he would still make a potentially excellent compliment to Chris Ivory in the backfield. Marty Mornhinweg loves to use multiple back sets and rotations. Johnson has the speed the Jets offense is missing and would help open up the passing game for the quarterback and offer some help as a receiver out of the backfield. The downside to Johnson lies in the way he can kill drives by passing up wide open lanes, looking to hit a home run and coming up with negative yards gained and this is most likely the reason he is having such a hard time generating a ton of interest.
If Johnson ultimately decides to sign with the Jets, Mornhinweg gets another weapon to add to his arsenal to make this offense more complete and dynamic, but if he signs somewhere else it shouldn’t be looked at as a miss by Idzik (obviously it will by some, but it shouldn’t be). Idzik looked around the table, determined what he was willing to pay for the running back, made the offer and now he waits with his poker face and either way Idzik will continue to do things his way and won’t overpay a player just because people feel like he has to.