The 2018 second-round pick was a major part of the Lions offense as a rookie, compiling 854 yards from scrimmage and four scores. He saw a similar workload in 2019 before succumbing to a knee injury after only eight games (seven starts).
When Johnson returned from injury in 2020, he was no longer atop the depth chart. The team seemed to priortize 2020 second-round running back D’Andre Swift over Johnson, with the third-year pro also having to battle Adrian Peterson for snaps. Ultimately, Johnson finished this past season with only 368 yards from scrimmage in 16 games, although he did earn praise for his pass-blocking ability.
While Peterson won’t be back next season, the team did add former Packers running back Jamaal Williams on a two-year deal. The team also added Jermar Jefferson in the seventh round of the draft, meaning Johnson wasn’t even guaranteed a spot as a third running back.
Now, the 23-year-old Johnson will hit the waiver wire, and there’s a solid chance he’s scooped up by another squad. Johnson still has a year left on his rookie contract, with his contract counting $2MM against the cap. The Lions save about $1.3MM with this move.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.