David Johnson will have another crack at being a lead running back, but it could be his last. The 28-year-old was traded to Houston where he'll carry the mail for a Texans offense that has finished in the top-12 in rush attempts each of the past six seasons under coach Bill O'Brien (four inside the top-6). So he should see plenty of work, though that doesn't guarantee success. Johnson hasn't been the same since a wrist injury kept him off the field for his age-25 season, compiling nine 100-total-yard games in his past 29 games. Touchdowns have been a boon for Johnson these past few years, rushing for nine and catching seven more, but the Texans don't throw to their running backs nearly as much as other teams, so there's some worry he won't be as dynamite in the passing game. And if the risk for injury doesn't spook you, his putrid 3.7-yard rushing average will. Johnson's risk is minimized if he's taken in Round 5, but he shouldn't be selected higher than that.
Johnson expressed confidence in his durability and anticipation for a new beginning with the Texans, Sarah Barshop of EPSN.com reports. The narrative about Johnson's decline since 2016 is out there after the 28-year-old running back has dealt with injuries and a suspect supporting cast in recent seasons.The one full season he played, 2018, was for the league's lowest-ranked offense, 32nd in rushing and passing. "Just going back to my rookie year of doing everything that I can to make sure that my body is healthy and starting a clean slate for sure with a new team," said Johnson. He enters the offseason as the top back, ahead of incumbent back Duke Johnson, and talks like he has a chip on his shoulder. Having a dynamic quarterback like Deshaun Watson could also boost Johnson's value.
Johnson passed his physical Wednesday, making his trade to the Texans official, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Johnson dealt with an ankle injury last season and effectively had his 2017 campaign derailed by a dislocated wrist, but he wasn't expected to have any medical red flags heading into the physical. With his health now intact, he'll now be looking to rebound in Houston after a disappointing finish to his tenure in Arizona. The 28-year-old's production has been lackluster since he turned in monster fantasy numbers in 2016, but a change in scenery and a clear spot atop Houston's depth chart could help Johnson -- who logged just 94 carries while catching 36 passes in 13 games in 2019 - engineer a bounce-back effort in 2020. He'll work in tandem out of the backfield with pass-catching ace Duke Johnson.
The Cardinals traded Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round selection for DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. In what may become the blockbuster move of the 2020 offseason, the Texans opt to settle their backfield situation but in exchange give up one of the league's most reliable wide receivers. Johnson will join forces with Duke Johnson at running back with Houston moving on from unrestricted free agents Lamar Miller (knee) and Carlos Hyde.
The Cardinals traded Johnson to the Texans on Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Specifics are to follow on what the Cardinals received in return. Less than two years removed from inking Johnson to a massive extension, the Cardinals have moved on after back-to-back lackluster seasons. The transaction was forecast by the team placing the transition tag on Kenyan Drake, who exploded on the scene in 2019 after his trade to the desert midseason. Johnson will join Duke Johnson in the Houston backfield with Lamar Miller (knee) and Carlos Hyde set to become unrestricted free agents.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Johnson won't be released this offseason, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. "Cutting him is not an option," Keim said. "You can't just have one back." Keim merely states the obvious, considering Johnson's three-year, $39 million extension includes a fully guaranteed $10.2 million base salary for 2020, per overthecap.com. A trade isn't out of the question, but the Cardinals presumably would need to give up something else -- or renegotiate Johnson's contract to eat some of the salary -- to facilitate a trade for for a 28-year-old running back, who hasn't looked especially good since 2016. Johnson did produce 10.3 yards per catch and 7.9 per target in 2019, so he still has value for passing downs if nothing else. Fellow running back Kenyan Drake can become an unrestricted free agent in March, while Chase Edmonds has two years remaining on his rookie contract.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|7||10/25||Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|11||11/22||New England Patriots||2||11.94|
|3 Year Avg||121||436||3||31||294||2||100|