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CFL signing pairs Chad Johnson with Duron Carter in Montreal

Receiver Chad Johnson hasn't played in the NFL since 2012. (USATSI)
Receiver Chad Johnson hasn't played in the NFL since 2012. (USATSI)

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Chad Johnson's two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes is a standard CFL deal -- a "flat contract" as general manager Jim Popp put it, with the team impressed with his performance at a three-day mini camp.

The deal does not include incentives and is in line with a normal veteran CFL deal.

"Money was never an issue with Chad," Popp said. "He was just looking for a chance to play and he understood our cap situation. It was a standard deal."

Johnson, who has not played in the NFL since his release by the Dolphins following a domestic violence situation in 2012, is awaiting word on his work permit to play in Canada. Popp said in general once all paperwork is submitted it takes a week or so to get word of an American player's eligibility and Popp estimated the Alouettes would get word on Johnson's status by May 1, though there is no timetable.

Johnson would then report to a first-year player camp in late May, with Montreal's full training camp beginning June 1. Popp said he believes Johnson can help his team immediately and said Johnson showed very well in every regard -- on field and off -- during the minicamp.

"He got along great with our players, the coaches were very comfortable with him," Popp said, "and there was no question at all that he can still play. No question at all. He was very impressive all three days."

Johnson's deal does not include any outs for the NFL, but Popp said if Johnson performed well enough in 2014 that there was NFL interest "we would definitely try to help the player, especially at this stage of his career."

Johnson's appearance at the minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla., brought a heavy fan contingent.

"Chad was very polite, very professional with everyone," Popp said. "A lot of people turned up top see him and he signed every autograph and could not have been any better to deal with."

Popp's team will be getting plenty attention, especially if Johnson is deemed eligible to play in the CFL. Former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith is the favorite to win his starting quarterback job -- "Troy had a very strong minicamp," Popp said -- and receiver Duron Carter is being scouted heavily.

Carter, son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, starred as a rookie in the CFL last year and is an unrestricted free agent after 2014. Carter and his dad had been working out in Florida with Johnson.

"We definitely expect Duron to be in the NFL in 2015," Popp said. "He won't be back with us. He was phenomenal in minicamp. He is a special, special player. He is a difference maker.

"If all 32 [NFL] teams aren't looking closely at him, then there's something wrong with them. He is a difference maker. He was excellent last year and I know he's missed some football from college and didn't play a few years, but we all mature at a different rate and he is a very special football player now."


Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday during the season on The NFL Today.
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