Chad Johnson

This Date In Transactions History: Dolphins Sign Chad Johnson

In the summer of 2012, the Dolphins found themselves less-than-enamored with their options at wide receiver. The Dolphins had just recently traded Brandon Marshall – fresh off of his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season – to the Bears for a pair of third-round picks. Then, in the draft, they did not select a wide receiver until the sixth round.

‘‘You would like to have some players make it easy and distinguish themselves, maybe make the picture a little bit clearer,’’ head coach Joe Philbin said (via The Boston Globe). ‘‘We have to catch the ball more consistently at every position on offense, because it is not quite where it needs to be.’’

After missing out on the first and second wave of free agent wide receivers, the Dolphins placed a call to Drew Rosenhaus to inquire on Chad Ochocinco (née Chad Johnson). On June 11, 2012, the Dolphins inked the eccentric veteran to a one-year deal.

Ochocinco’s career credentials were as impressive as his touchdown celebrations were inventive. To that point, he had 766 catches for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns, six Pro Bowl nods, and two First-Team All-Pro selections.

However, the receiver’s best days were spent with the Bengals and he looked like a shell of his former self with the Patriots in the 2011 season. In his lone campaign with New England, Johnson had just 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown and was targeted just 32 times in total. Johnson clearly didn’t mesh with the Patriots’ offense and he didn’t impress in his two intra-divisional games against the Dolphins either. Against Miami, he had just one catch in each of those two games.

Ochocinco – who changed his name back to Johnson shortly after signing with Miami – didn’t mesh with Philbin and the rest of the staff. The melding of personalities turned out to be the least of his issues. In August, Johnson was arrested on domestic battery charges. Johnson proclaimed his innocence, but the Dolphins released him the very next day. Thanks to “Hard Knocks,” we have video of Philbin’s final conversation with Johnson.

Johnson’s deal with the Dolphins up being his final NFL contract. Johnson went on to play for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 2014 and was suspended for the 2015 season when he skipped mandatory practices. He re-emerged in 2017 to play in a single game for the Monterrey Fundidores of the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional de México, where he scored on a 41-yard touchdown reception in the Fundidores’ winning effort.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Ochocinco, Tucker

Former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson is on his way back to the AFC North. This time, however, he’ll be joining up with the Browns and he’ll be serving as a guest coach rather than a player.

What a blessing Hue Jackson is, see y’all in Cleveland on the 28th,” Johnson tweeted (sic). “No cleats this time, just knowledge.”

As Cleveland beat writers champ at the bit for some choice Ochocinco quotes, here’s more out of the AFC North:

  • The Ravens and kicker Justin Tucker have yet to agree to terms on a new deal, but former agent Joel Corry tells Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun that it should only be a matter of time. “It shouldn’t be a hard deal to do unless Tucker wants to redefine kicker salaries,” said former football agent Joel Corry, who analyzes and writes about contracts for National Football Post and CBS Sports. “You have a guy that’s the second most accurate kicker in the history of football. He’s in the discussions as the best kicker in the game. You can say [the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski] is the best, but Tucker is right behind him. So you have to pay him at the top of the market.” The deadline for Baltimore to extend the franchise-tagged kicker is Friday, July 15th.
  • Some NFL fans have opined that the Browns should cut Isaiah Crowell for his recent Instagram controversy, but Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer doesn’t think that would be the wisest move. Reportedly, while the Browns are less-than-pleased with the 23-year-old’s actions, they have no plans of releasing the running back. A statement issued by NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy also seemed to indicate that there will not be punishment coming from the league office.
  • This week, we learned that the Browns were able to void out Johnny Manziel‘s guarantees before releasing him this offseason.

Chad Johnson Eyeing NFL Comeback

When Chad Johnson signed with the CFL’s Montreal Allouettes in April, the team’s GM claimed that the wide receiver simply “wanted to be part of a team again,” and wasn’t angling to make an NFL comeback. Today, agent Drew Rosenhaus told James Walker of ESPN.com that his client is in fact playing with the goal of returning to a 100-yard field.

If they did [call], he would jump for it,” Rosenhaus said. “Of course, he would love it. But right now, he’s operating as a Canadian Football League player. We will see what happens. It’s not like we’re holding our breath that he’s going to play in the NFL. But he’s trying. That’s the goal.”

The former six-time Pro Bowler “doesn’t lack confidence or enthusiasm,” according to his ever-confident agent, but getting back to the NFL could be a tall order. Johnson, 36, would be the oldest receiver in the league this season. Colts veteran Reggie Wayne, 35, is the current owner of that title.

Johnson, in his prime, was once one of the NFL’s top wide receivers and certainly one of its most charismatic athletes. He recorded six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2002-07 as a member of the Bengals and has 766 career receptions for 11,059 yards and 82 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons. We wouldn’t bank on him adding to that total, but apparently he’s not thinking much about life after football. Rosenhaus says that Johnson would “play football until he’s 50 if they let him.”

Extra Points: Jets, Johnson, Saints

Let’s check out some assorted NFL notes to wrap up this Friday evening…

Extra Points: Johnson, Carter, Facemasks

Former All-Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson only caught a pair of passes in his CFL regular-season debut with the Montreal Alouettes. That didn’t matter to the 36-year-old, who just was thrilled to be playing football again. Johnson spoke to Peter King of TheMMQB.com about the feeling that accompanies playing professional football for the first time in nearly three years:

“A joy,” he said. “A joy. That feeling, as a kid, you wake up on Christmas, the excitement. I’m just thankful to have a chance to play again. I didn’t care about catches, I didn’t care about the ball. I mean, the feeling just being part of something again, being part of this organization … I mean, words really can’t describe how it felt, to lose something that I worked for all my life and have it snatched from me because of my irresponsibilities and my mistakes. A lesson was learned. Humbling experience. I don’t know what to say. It’s awesome.”

Let’s check out some more assorted notes from the CFL and NFL…

  • Meanwhile, Alouettes general manager Jim Popp is more excited about another one of his wideouts: Duron Carter. Popp talked to King and described his infatuation with the 23-year-old: Every NFL team should be after Cris Carter‘s son. Duron Carter is a phenomenal athlete. He’s got every measurable. He’s fast, 6-foot-4, can be a punt returner in the NFL with his size, can run with the ball, has got tremendous body control.” 
  • Today is the deadline for players to renew their therapeutic use exemption, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The exemption (along with a prescription from a doctor) allows players to take otherwise banned substances.
  • Barring medical exemption, the NFL has banned “non-standard and overbuilt face masks,” tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. As the writer notes, the decision was based on research and will likely only impact the four players who wore such masks last season.

Extra Points: Incognito, FAs, Finley, Patriots

In the wake of last year’s bullying scandal, Richie Incognito has predictably had trouble finding NFL work. As Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report writes, the offensive lineman’s reps have been contacting teams over the last few weeks and months, but there has been virtually no interest. Said one general manager: “He’s trying to get back in the game, but the door remains shut. No one trusts him.”

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • A pair of veteran free agents, offensive tackle Eric Winston and cornerback Drayton Florence, are expected to make visits next week to unidentified clubs with interest, reports Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. As Marvez notes, interest in unsigned veterans should pick up around the league next week, when June 1 passes and free agents are no longer linked to compensatory draft picks.
  • A source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com that Jermichael Finley‘s meeting with the Packers is a “formality.” The free agent tight end had previous plans to travel to Green Bay with his family, so he’ll check in with team doctors, but no medical clearance, contract signing, or even testing is anticipated, according to Demovsky’s source.
  • The Patriots and the representatives for Aaron Hernandez have a June hearing scheduled to go before an arbitrator as the team attempts to recoup the former tight end’s signing bonus money, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
  • General manager Jim Popp of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes confirmed today to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports that former Bengals star Chad Johnson has received his work permit to play in Canada and is “at camp as we speak.”
  • Following up on Chris Johnson‘s Twitter plea for the Jets to acquire Andre Johnson, Brian Costello of the New York Post takes a look at a few reasons why trading for the Texans wideout could make sense for the Jets, as well as several reasons why it may not work.

Extra Points: Clausen, Quinn, Ponder

Former second-round pick Jimmy Clausen hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since his rookie year in 2010, but having undergone shoulder surgery last September, the 26-year-old feels like he’s healthy and ready to contribute somewhere. Clausen tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today that he’s looking for an opportunity to compete for a No. 2 job, then hopes to work his way up from there.

“I’m still really young,” Clausen said. “I’m going into my fifth year in the league. I feel great. This is probably right now the healthiest I’ve been since my junior year in college, to be honest with you.”

As the former Notre Dame signal-caller continues to look for NFL work, let’s check out a few other Good Friday updates from around the league….

  • Although the team has yet to do so, the Rams will exercise Robert Quinn‘s fifth-year option by next month’s deadline, tweets Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Quinn, like fellow defense end Muhammad Wilkerson, should be in line for a 2015 salary of $6.969MM.
  • Meanwhile, Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune takes a look at Christian Ponder‘s potential fifth-year option, which seems unlikely to be picked up by the Vikings.
  • Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio today, Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp said newly-signed receiver Chad Johnson simply “wanted to be part of a team again,” and isn’t angling to make an NFL comeback (Twitter link).
  • North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen worked out for the Packers and could be a fit for the club, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
  • Five NFL teams have visited Wyoming to work out quarterback Brett Smith, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, who says (via Twitter) that Smith is a likely late-round pick if he’s drafted at all.

Chad Johnson Signs With Montreal Alouettes

Veteran wide receiver Chad Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, has signed with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, the league announced today (via Twitter). The longtime Bengal last played a regular-season NFL game for the Patriots in 2011.

Johnson, who totaled 766 receptions for more than 11,000 yards and 67 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons, was signed by the Dolphins in 2012, but was released that summer following his arrest due to a domestic incident. The 36-year-old recently worked out for the Alouettes and GM Jim Popp indicated over the weekend that talks between the two sides had “escalated” (link via ESPN.com).

With Johnson on board, Montreal will be looking to bounce back after a season in which the team finished with an 8-10 record, its worst mark since 2007.