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Thread: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

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    No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com


    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Anytime a well-known NFL player is about to become a free agent or lands on the trading block, it's something of a tradition for that player to be instantly connected to any team that might have some sort of past connection to him.

    It's a practice that is silly on the surface but considering how often such potential pre-ordained marriages come to fruition, it's worth having the conversation. The St. Louis Rams under coach Jeff Fisher offer plenty of proof of that practice.

    Chris Johnson and Rams coach Jeff Fisher have a history together, but the running back may not be interested in sharing the load in St. Louis.

    Fisher's Rams moved quickly to sign cornerback Cortland Finnegan in 2012, and adding former Tennessee Titans who played under Fisher has been a regular practice since. Defensive end William Hayes, tight end Jared Cook and linebacker Will Witherspoon are other former Titans to come to St. Louis under Fisher. And the team recently hosted Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt on a visit.

    Now, there's another Titan in the news, one who just so happens to be another favorite of Fisher's: running back Chris Johnson. ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder reported Wednesday that Tennessee has garnered trade interest in Johnson, meaning the Titans might not have to outright release him.

    Johnson said earlier this year that he would be open to a trade after complaining of underuse by the Titans. Although Johnson is scheduled to make $8 million in 2014, there has been speculation that he would not be willing to adjust that figure in the right situation. Logically, Johnson would rather be released so he can shop his services to the other 31 teams.

    Regardless of whether the Rams could get Johnson at a reduced rate after his release or in a trade for a late-round pick, it's a move that they should avoid despite the obvious connections between the sides.

    First and foremost, the Rams have their primary running back in place in Zac Stacy, who is coming off a solid rookie season in which he rushed for 973 yards and eight touchdowns despite not becoming the starter until Week 5. The Rams offense fared much better after Stacy stepped into the mix and became the bell cow for the offense.

    Stacy did, however, struggle with nagging injuries which never cost him long stretches or multiple games but were enough to land him on the sidelines for parts of games. But even if you operate under the assumption that Johnson would be a complement to Stacy, the Rams also have another second-year back who flashed the ability to handle the job in Benny Cunningham.

    Cunningham had limited opportunities behind Stacy but stepped in against Chicago in week 12 and rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries. Another year removed from injury, Cunningham should only be better in 2014.

    Beyond the two backs already in place, if the Rams want to add to the position and replace an Isaiah Pead or Daryl Richardson, why not simply do it through the draft?

    Johnson is 28 and had surgery on a torn meniscus in January. He rushed for 1,077 yards with an average of 3.86 yards per carry. The player who rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009 has been nowhere to be found in the past three years. And even if the Rams did want to pursue him, who is to say that Johnson would be OK with a timeshare alongside Stacy? Or that he'd take a contract so affordable the Rams could make it work?

    In the 2013 offseason, the Rams said goodbye to an accomplished 29-year old running back whose best days were behind him. That running back was Steven Jackson, the franchise's all-time leading rusher. They did it because they knew it was time to get younger and alter the approach at a position where talent can be found. A year later, there's no need for that approach to change.


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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    Calvin Johnson BIG YES. Chris Johnson, BIG NO. I dont think that would be a very good use of salary cap for us.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    It's hard to argue against the logic here. I would have thought if CJ2K were willing to take a salary cut he would be willing to share the workload, but apparently that's not the case. I hope we can get DRich or Pead to be the lightning to Stacy's thunder unless we find someone late in the draft who's irresistible.

    Part of my thinking was also if the ***** went for DeSean Jackson we'd need to crank up our offense with something radical like CJ2K. It doesn't appear the ***** have the cap space or the FO willingness to trade for DJ. Good news.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    I'm on the fence on this one. Part of me thinks DRich will came back and look like he did his first year, which is really what CJ2K is now. Outside runner with speed. Then part of me thinks what if Stacy goes down, we maybe scrambling to stay effective in the running game. Hard not to think that Stacy and CJ2K splitting time would look really good.
    THOLTFAN81 and mde8352gorams like this.

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    demiurge is offline Registered User
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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    DRich didn't strike me as a speed guy. He was a one cut and go acceleration guy, not someone that will beat you around the end and destroy pursuit angles.

    I can't say I'm very interested in Johnson at this stage of his career unless he worked pretty cheap, and I don't expect that either. He's always had a me first attitude as well from reports I've read.

    I think we are pretty good with our current crop of young guys. A good receiving back with elusiveness and hands is about all we really need.

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    I don't love our current group, and Wags is incorrect as Stacy did miss long stretches of games as in the first four or five of the season maybe even a preseason game or two... Pretty poor job of facts reports there. He was injured multiple times and missed games or played at such a reduced level he was not even in the play. I like Zac but we need more backs. DRich huge step back and Peadster under used by the staff for probably a myrid of reasons. That leaves the oft injured duo of Bam Bam and Zac both were injured multiple times last season. Running Backs, by commitee weather you want it or not! LOL

    Picking up CJ2K would be awesome imho, of course you guys make a great point at what cost? And him playing for Fish seemed he was a bit less me and more team oriented at that time. But that is strictly my view not what I heard or know for sure only Jeff knows this guy well enough to make the proper assessments. If not Chris I believe we need a good back in this draft badly!
    Last edited by Randart; -03-20-2014 at 09:20 PM.

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    If the Rams need a speed back to compliment Stacy and Cunningham and are set to move on from Pead, I'd prefer we take a look at Dri Archer in the late rounds. Small guy, but faster than Tavon Austin.

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    Not too exited about CJ, no. Other support RB options will arise soon enough for the Rams. I'm just glad Stacy and Cunningham are here!

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    no way for Chris Johnson,..too much money, and he wouldn't and shouldn't get more playing time then stacy..brinigng him in would only stunt stacys growth

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    Chris Johnson not just would have too much money. But also too much of an ego. Which could ruin a team distraction there!
    Merry Christmas!

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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    We will find that speedy/quick/playmaking RB to complement Stacy. A RB who maybe even helps out in the passing game as another option at receiver. I was thinking maybe Dexter McCluster could be that option this year, but looks like we will look elsewhere in draft or maybe next year.

    Anyway, what I was alluding to is... We will find Stacy's complement. It's just not Chris Johnson. Pass for sure.


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    Re: No need for Rams to pursue Johnson

    This is a bad idea. We should stay with Stacy/ Cunningham and leave someone who rushed just 100 yards more in 5 more games. I see the debacle we had last year trying to fit him in, until Stacy took over.

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