Arizona Cardinals Sign Running Back Chris Johnson


Chris Johnson agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals after passing his physical with the team on Monday. He was brought in after the Cardinals continued to struggle with keeping their running backs healthy in 2014 and the 2015 pre-season.

He is coming to the Arizona Cardinals to hopefully help an injury plagued running back group, but he maybe asked to do more than that.

Johnson was the 26th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, and played with the team through 2013. In 2014 he was picked up the New York Jets after being released by the Titans. Johnson signed a two-year deal but his second year option was not picked up after the 2014 season. He has been named to the Pro Bowl team three times, along with first team All-Pro in 2010.

Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Johnson (21) rushes against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

This pick up is important to the Cardinals because Johnson has been able to stay healthy through his whole NFL career, only missing one game in seven seasons. Compare this to starting running back Andre Ellington, who has missed five games in two seasons.

Last season was Johnson’s worst, running for only 663 yards and one touchdown. If the Cardinals could get him into his form that he had in Tennessee, they may have a 1,000-yard rusher on their hands. While with the Titans for six seasons, Johnson averaged more than 1,327 yards per season and eight touchdowns. Johnson is a great back, but there is still a chance that he could not make the roster in 2015.

The Cardinals already have a playmaker in Ellington and Johnson has only three weeks to impress the coaches, so there is a chance he could not be on the roster come week one. There is one thing that is going in Johnson’s favor, and that is the back up running back has been unable to practice throughout training camp. David Johnson, the Cardinals third round pick, has been suffering with a hamstring injury and until August 17th did not practice.

If Chris Johnson wants to make the team he will have to work hard to prove to the coaches, and his teammates, that is healed from an offseason injury. He was shot in the shoulder during a drive by shooting in March and posted a picture of his wound via Instagram this week.

Johnson has a great opportunity to help the Cardinals as they try and get back not only to the playoffs but also to the Super Bowl. Look for Johnson to be sharing snaps with Ellington as the season approaches. If he does well in the next three games of the preseason, he will make the final roster.