Sports Outside the Beltway

Kansas City Testing Trade Waters with Johnson

The Kansas City Chiefs are having trouble signing their superstar running back Larry Johnson to a long-term contract. To make sure they don’t end up with nothing if Johnson leaves via free agency after next season the team has been talking trade with a few teams including my Green Bay Packers:

The Chiefs have spoken with the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and possibly others, but have not found anything close to a taker.

A Chiefs official insisted Tuesday that his team has not engaged in “specific” trade talks with any team. But it’s a matter of semantics. They clearly have spoken in trade generalities with a number of teams, trying to gauge Johnson’s value around the league and to their organization.

The reason the Chiefs are shopping Johnson is the exact reason that other teams are leery about trading for him.

Johnson is heading into the last year of his contract and is seeking a new deal that would eclipse the eight-year, $60 million contract given to San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson two years ago, before the NFL’s salary-cap increased 36 percent. With the salary-cap skyrocketing, so is Johnson’s asking price, and rightfully so.

As much as I’d love Johnson wearing the green and gold his salary would be way to high. Mike McCarthy’s zone blocking scheme appears to be like Denver’s. The running back isn’t as important as the blocking technique. Thus Denver could continue having an effective running game after trading Clinton Portis to Washington. The talent of the offensive linemen and the scheme are more of a key than the running back blasting through the holes. We’ll see if the Packers can garner some ball control without Ahman Green who left to go to Houston. The Packers are better off drafting a running back or two Saturday and putting their salary cap room into finding a safety and improving all-around depth.

“Future of Larry Johnson Still Cloudy”

[Cross-posted to The American Mind.]

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