2014 NFL Free Agency: Chris Johnson Is Not Coming To Atlanta

No matter how tempting you might find the possibility.

Chris Johnson is not a free agent, but he's still on the market. The Tennessee Titans have made it abundantly clear that they will trade him away to a team interested and willing to give up tangible assets. In recent days, there has been rampant speculation that the Falcons are among the teams interested in CJ, though nothing concrete.

Let me weigh in: You shouldn't expect Chris Johnson to wind up in Atlanta. You also shouldn't want it to happen.

Johnson is a perfect example of a player who has been coasting on his reputation for years now. In his second year in the NFL, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and put up over 2,000 yards on the ground, and in the process becoming one of the most hyped young backs in the NFL. There was plenty of reason to believe that he could become the next great back.

In four seasons since, he's carried the ball 1,131 times for 4,731 times, or an average of just under 4.2 yards per carry. He has been, in other words, a slightly above average NFL starter at running back, and a decent receiver out of the backfield. Johnson has also fumbled 14 times in those four seasons. He'll be 29 years old in the first month of this upcoming season, and his glory days are years behind him. He averaged under four yards per carry in 2013, as well.

All of this would be only mildly discouraging if Johnson was on the open market and you had the opportunity to make him an offer, because he could still be an asset for the Falcon's running back corps. Unfortunately, he's under contract with the Titans and is owed $8 million in 2014, meaning you'd have to trade a draft pick and re-structure his contract just to get him on the team. Johnson would not represent a large enough upgrade over what the Falcons already have to justify that, and a mid-round draft pick would be cheaper and would represent a better long-term opportunity.

Given the Falcons' current needs and cap space, Johnson makes zero sense. That's why he won't be a Falcon in 2014.

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