6:22pm: Johnson’s two-year deal has a team option on year two, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The Jets can trigger the option or decline it in February 2015 at $4MM.
4:28pm: Johnson gets $3MM to sign with a $1MM escalator between the two seasons, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
3:36pm: Johnson’s two-year deal has a base value of $8MM with another $1MM available in incentives based on yardage, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
3:22pm: The Jets tweeted a picture of Johnson signing his contract, signaling that the agreement is now official.
2:22pm: The Jets and Chris Johnson have reached agreement on a two-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The veteran tailback will put pen to paper later today, Schefter adds (on Twitter). Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.
The acquisition of Johnson gives the Jets a major splash in what has been a relatively quiet offseason since the signings of Michael Vick and Eric Decker back in March. Of course, the 28-year-old has lost a bit of his luster in recent years, but a change of scenery and system could potentially rejuvenate his career. The once dominant back registered just 1,077 yards off of 279 attempts with six touchdowns in 2013, leading to his release in early April.
Johnson’s so-so stat lines in recent years only tell half of the story. Even though he cracked 1,000 yards in 2013, he graded out as the league’s 42nd-best running back out of 55 qualified players last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The addition of Johnson will have reverb effects on the rest of the Jets roster. For starters, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) points out, Johnson’s arrival will likely spell the end of Mike Goodson‘s strange and short-lived time in green. Meanwhile, the Jets may choose to change their draft strategy next month. They’ve been (rightfully) pegged as a team in desperate need of an offensive playmaker, but the Johnson signing could allow them to go in a different direction.
As our own Luke Adams explained earlier this month, Johnson had a number of factors working against him in free agency. The Titans cut him loose late in the offseason at a point when many teams had already filled their running back vacancies. On top of that, it appeared to be a depressed market at the position overall. This offseason, no free agent back received more than the $3.5MM the Jaguars and Chargers committed to Toby Gerhart and Donald Brown, respectively. Other notable running backs on the market included Ben Tate ($3.1MM guaranteed with the Browns), Knowshon Moreno ($3MM, Dolphins), Rashad Jennings ($2.5MM, Giants), and Maurice Jones-Drew ($1.2MM, Raiders).
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