NFL.com ranks Chris Johnson as one of the best offseason bargains

Oct 14, 2015, 11:57 AM
Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) runs against the St. Louis Rams during the first ...
Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) runs against the St. Louis Rams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

When the Arizona Cardinals signed veteran Chris Johnson in August, they professed a belief that he still had some good football left in him.

However, even they may not have known he would be this good.

The 30-year-old former Tennessee Titan and New York Jet is second in the NFL with 405 rushing yards, and his average of 5.1 yards per carry has him tied for eighth.

Working under a one-year, $870,000 contract that could be worth up to $2 million if he rushes for 1,300 yards and reaches the Pro Bowl, it’s clear the Cardinals found themselves a steal in their backfield.

According to NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling, he is the second-best offseason bargain in all of football.

2. Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals running back: After taking a bullet to the shoulder on top of a disappointing 2014 season, Johnson was free for the taking in mid-August when the Cardinals came calling due to a litany of hamstring injuries in their backfield. The Arizona version of Johnson is reliant upon vision, patience and physicality that were missing in recent seasons.

The sharp cut at the 40-yard line in this video is demonstrative. A 23-year-old Johnson would have taken that carry to the end zone. A 27-year-old Johnson wouldn’t have made that first defender miss. A 30-year-old Johnson forces a missed tackle and scampers 40 yards through open prairie land provided by the best surrounding talent of his career.

As of now, it appears Johnson has taken hold of the Cardinals’ No. 1 running back job, though going forward he will be competing with Andre Ellington and David Johnson for carries. That could limit his numbers, though as long as he keeps running the way he has then there should be no shortage of opportunities for the three-time Pro Bowler.

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NFL.com ranks Chris Johnson as one of the best offseason bargains