Friday is usually a day where Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie gets business done. He has signed numerous players this offseason on Friday including running back Maurice Jones-Drew, defensive linemen Antonio Smith, cornerback Tarell Brown and safety Charles Woodson. However, do not expect McKenzie to show interest in recently released running back Chris Johnson.
The Tennessee Titans released Johnson today, giving him the option of exploring the free agent market. While there will be a market for him, the Raiders will not be an option. Oakland already has five running backs on their roster. The team brought back Darren McFadden and signed Jones-Drew to carry the rushing load in 2014. They also have second-year man Latavius Murray to work into the rotation despite missing all of last season with an ankle injury. Kory Sheets and Jeremy Stewart will also compete for a roster spot. With so many bodies at running back, Johnson makes little sense for Oakland.
The Raiders will already have a hard time finding carries for all the backs they have under contract. McFadden and Jones-Drew are feature backs, who need the ball to be effective. Johnson would be another player considered a feature back, who needs carries. McFadden and Jones-Drew are in prove it years, where they will need to stay healthy and productive to determine their future prospects. Johnson would add a third running back that has much to prove in the league. Johnson is coming off a diminished three years where his production has wavered. He is still a valuable back, just not for the Raiders.
Johnson has never had less than 1,000 yards in a season since entering the league six years ago. He will be looking for a situation where he can be a number one back and prove he still has something left in the tank. That opportunity is not in Oakland. He also will command a decent amount of money to attract him. The Raiders have around 12 million dollars in cap space left. It would require a chunk of that to bring him in as his salary for this season would have been 8 million dollars. The Raiders have a cluttered and talented backfield already, so Johnson does not fit into their plans.
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