Derrick Johnson is optimistic he’ll be ready to suit up for Chiefs training camp in July, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports. The former All-Pro is coming off his second torn Achilles’ tendon in three years and will turn 35 this year. Still, the inside linebacker’s return revitalized the 2015 Kansas City defense, and the Chiefs missed his presence against the Steelers after he went down in December. Johnson plans to play out the final two years of the three-year, $21MM deal he signed last year.
“I’m trying to win the Super Bowl, so my obligation is two more years and I want to do everything I can to make an impact to help [Chiefs chairman] Clark Hunt and the people that brought me here to win a Super Bowl,” Johnson said, via Paylor. “I’m not that guy trying to hold on. I really want to make an impact. If I see I’m hurting the team, that’s when I’ll have to think like ‘OK, that’s it.”
The Chiefs held out several starters in their previous training camp, so Johnson surmounting a second Achilles malady to suit up by July could be pushing it.
Let’s take a look at the latest from around the league on Super Bowl eve.
- Pat McAfee‘s early retirement leaves the Colts without the NFL’s yards-per-punt leader in 2016. But the team could ask for $400K of the retired punter’s $1MM signing bonus he received as part of a five-year, $14.5MM contract, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. This would be somewhat interesting if they did go after that rather modest sum, considering, as Wells notes, the Seahawks didn’t pursue Marshawn Lynch‘s $5MM bonus when he retired last year. The Colts clear $2.8MM in cap space in 2017 and $2.7MM in ’18 because of McAfee’s retirement. The Colts haven’t placed McAfee on the reserve/retired list because the 29-year-old specialist hasn’t submitted retirement papers yet.
- A Jimmy Garoppolo trade would involve the passer agreeing to a new contract, CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets in an effort to remind that the backup has some leverage here. The Browns and Bears have been pondering Garoppolo pursuits. The Patriots‘ backup quarterback has one season remaining on his deal.
- Johnny Manziel‘s comeback has elicited disparate responses from NFL personnel men. “I don’t think anyone will touch him,” one personnel man told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. An anonymous GM believes one team will give the embattled quarterback a chance. Another GM added the return bid would be “unlikely, but you never know. It would be tough as a starter. Quality backup level.” Manziel plans to submit to drug testing before re-entering the league.
- Former Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh could land with the 49ers or Chargers, a source tells Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Saleh worked under Gus Bradley dating back to the pair’s years with the Texans, who also employed Kyle Shanahan during Saleh’s stay in Houston.
- The Chiefs are looking to upgrade at quarterback after a loss in the divisional round for a second straight season.