It’s a tale as old as time. A once highly sought after free agent crashes and burns in his new home. With millions of guaranteed dollars and no real support, it’s all too often a star free agent falls from grace after one or two seasons. For the Texans, Brock Osweiler, a/k/a [NAME REDACTED] here at BRB, as the mere utterance of his name creates a gust of cold wind felt around Loop 610. Trumaine Johnson is merely the latest in an endless list of NFL athletes who quickly revisit free agency after hitting it big.
Though not official, the New York Jets will reportedly release Johnson two years into a contract that totaled $72.5 million dollars, of which $45 million was guaranteed. They plan to cut him before March 20th, as they hope to save $3 million under the current CBA. Johnson played his first six years with the Saint Louis/Los Angeles Rams before inking a massive contract with the Jets. New York was hoping to pair him with Morris Claiborne in the secondary to bolster a Darrell Revis-less defense.
What the Jets got was far from what they expected and even further than what they paid for. Johnson only played 17 games in two seasons; he was benched during the final game of the season in 2018 for being late to a meeting or practice. He was benched again in 2019 for subpar play. He ended the 2019 season on IR with an ankle injury, and now he scurries back to the open market looking for another team to take a chance on him.
If those weren’t enough red flags, he was arrested for a DUI in 2013 after his rookie season in Missoula, Montana, where he went to college.
Of late, theTexans love taking one-year bets on defensive backs. Tyrann Mathieu, Bradley Roby, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun all received unique one-year deals of low-risk, high-reward nature. Two of those deals worked; Tyrann Mathieu and Bradley Roby had much better seasons than they had in the recent past. It has yet to work out long-term, but the Texans do seem to keep Roby around. Johnson fits the bill for a player who could use a one-year option to get his head right in a new environment and regain the league recognition he once had.
Johnson’s career has been an up-and-down affair. Outside of situationally fitting the bill, Johnson’s physical build and skill fit the Texans scheme. At 6’2” and 215 pounds, he’s got a strong frame and great athleticism on the field. He’s ideal for the Texans as a complement to Bradley Roby and can teach Lonnie Johnson how to use his own long frame. Johnson did have five interceptions the last two seasons, but his biggest weakness was when he had to guard speedy receivers who could run him all over the field. He can’t cover a player like Jarvis Landry or Jerry Jeudy, guys who can run any route in the tree and are yard after the catch maniacs. The Jets used Johnson as a Band-Aid against every team’s best receiver, and when he was healthy, it was not a good salve.
Combined with injuries, Johnson is flat out is not worth the $74 million that the Jets gave him and the $2.6 million per game they paid him. However, what if the Texans give him a chance and throw a couple million to see what he’s gotleft? Currently, Houston’s Week One starters would be Lonnie Johnson and Gareon Conley, which is less than an ideal scenario.
So don’t be surprised if Johnson ends up as a Texan this offseason.
Does he sound like a guy you want to bring in? And how much does he deserve to get paid?