Of course, it's worth asking why the team decided to give him that huge extension before the 2011 season. (We're guessing they were willing to overlook any such issues -- perceived or otherwise -- because Johnson was running all over the rest of the league at the time.)
Wherever the truth lies, it sounds like the Jets, one of the team's reportedly interested in Johnson's services, aren't concerned about his professionalism.
RB Chris Johnson will officially become a free agent in a few minutes. Jets do NOT have concerns about his work ethic. #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) April 7, 2014
The Jets under Rex Ryan haven't been afraid to take on guys with baggage; Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes immediately comes to mind. As does Mike Goodson, who could be out of a job if the Jets land CJ2K.
Johnson would join a backfield that includes Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, as well as Jets offensive newcomers, quarterback Michael Vick and wide receivers Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford. And suddenly a terrible offense from last season becomes somewhat more dangerous, at least from the perspective of early April.
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco notes that wherever Johnson ends up, he won't be the explosive player we saw early in his career, but a capable veteran who would be at his best in a backs-back-committee system.
"If a team signs Johnson expecting a lot of that explosion, it is making a mistake," Prisco wrote Monday. "What that team will get is a player like the one we saw in a second-half sequence against the Colts in Week 13. On four consecutive runs, Johnson took the ball from the Titans' 13 to the 41. He gained 28 yards on runs of 9, 3, 7 and 9 yards. It was nothing fancy, but his good feet helped make those runs possible.
"Something else to consider: Johnson still can help a team in the passing game. He had 52 catches, four for touchdowns, and his average of 8.2 yards per catch was second only to the 10.1 he had in that magical 2009 season."