Jason Reid discusses the possibility of the Redskins acquiring recently waived running back Larry Johnson, who was not wanted by a team with virtually no talent on offense. Coach Jim Zorn mentioned today that the team has had discussions about signing Johnson once he clears waivers, which he will surely do. The proximate cause of Johnson’s availability is his recent tendency to use anti-gay slurs. He’s also been in trouble with the law, faced previous suspensions from the team and belittled his head coach. In other words, he’s a bad guy.
It also isn’t clear if he’s much of a football player anymore. Sure, he was a well-known fantasy league superstar at one time — which explains Dan Snyder’s attraction to him — but he isn’t a superstar in any league these days. Johnson is averaging 2.7 yards per carry on 132 carries this season with zero touchdowns, production that would earn him the waiver wire whatever else he did — if it wasn’t for the size of his contract with Kansas City. He hasn’t played more than 12 games since 2006 and he will be 30 in ten days. Running backs generally don’t get better after their 30th birthday so it isn’t unreasonable to assume that his recent production is as good — or close to it — as it is going to get.
Now, Johnson’s defenders will say that he’s been running behind a very poor offensive line in Kansas City and hasn’t received much help from a passing game that scares no one. True enough. However, that sounds like a pretty apt description of the Washington offense, so if Johnson couldn’t thrive under those conditions in Kansas City, why would he be able to thrive in Washington?
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