Rams: Just Say No To CJ2K
By Neal Sayatovich
The rumor mill has been abuzz since the Tennessee Titans started shopping running back Chris Johnson. St. Louis has been listed as a potential landing spot due to his connection with head coach Jeff Fisher. To most, this may seem like a bad idea. Those people would be right. Here are five reasons why this deal will never happen.
1. Quality Of Depth
St. Louis is one of the few NFL teams stocked with a plethora of talent at tailback. Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Daryl Richardson form a three-headed monster in the backfield. Between those three backs, the Rams amassed more than 1,300 yards on the ground. Each one has shown a knack for finding a crease. Johnson would only accept a large-money deal and the Rams won't pay. With three more productive -- and cheaper players -- on the roster, and a total of five on the depth chart, there is no simply no room at the inn.
2. Productivity Issues
Ever since that 2,000-yard breakout season in 2009, Johnson has been inconsistent. While still posting no less than 1,000 yards each of those years, his production has been sketchy at times. Johnson was able to get most of his yards in garbage time. One big run would camoflauge the 16 sub-par rushes.
3. Wrong Scheme
St. Louis runs a lot of plays through the interior line, not where Johnson thrives. Johnson does best in a zone-blocking scheme, utilizing more stretch plays, rather than overly physical north and south running favored by the Rams. At this point in his career he would be better suited as a Darren Sporles-type used in screen passes and swing routes.
4. Age Issues
Johnson will be 29 when the regular season starts. That alone raises a few red flags in itself. With most running backs losing all of their tread around age 27, Johnson would appear to be on the downhill. With age also comes injury risks, and injury risks like that don't warrant large paydays. Johnson's age may limit him to a second string or even a situational back, something the Rams certainly don't need.
5. Not Cost Effective
The simplest negative factor is the size of the check. There are a few teams in need of a running back who may be willing to match Johnson's high salary demands. St. Louis isn't one of those teams. They have three young backs and many other pressing issues. Even though the cap limit was raised, teams are looking to limit excessive spending. Despite Johnson's connections to Jeff Fisher, he won't and shouldn't end up in St. Louis.