Posted Thu Jun 7th by Jon Heath
On Thursday, the New England Patriots parted ways with veteran wide receiver Chad Johnson, according to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter. Chad is now an unrestricted free agent and has hit the open market.
According to Schefter, the Patriots tried to trade Johnson throughout the day Thursday but their attempts were futile — no teams were willing to trade for a 34-year-old receiver who comes with baggage. Fortunately for Johnson, his chances of landing on his feet are better than Terrell Owens‘, who was recently cut by an Indoor Football League team.
Johnson is four years younger than Owens and still has some gas left in the tank. Johnson was owed $3 million by the Patriots in 2012 and was pushed out the door after reportedly having trouble grasping New England’s offensive system last season.
In 2011, Johnson caught a career-low 15 passes for 276 yards and one score, which came against the Broncos in Week 15 of the season. The Patriots’ acquisitions of free agent wide receivers Brandon Lloyd—who was traded out of Denver to St. Louis last season and followed Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels to New England—Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth made Johnson expendable.
The question is, what teams will be interested in Johnson, and will the Broncos be among them? The answers will likely be: A handful and no.
Denver will have big competition at the wide receiver position this summer with the top two positions—held by third-year receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker—appearing to be the only two spots not up for grabs.
Johnson’s former teammate Andre Caldwell, who signed with Denver in the offseason, will be competing for the No. 3 spot with journeyman receivers Jason Hill and Matt Willis, veteran Brandon Stokley, and youngsters Mark Dell, D’Andre Goodwin, Tyler Grisham, Greg Orton, Gerell Robinson and undrafted rookie Eric Page, who will have his chances of making the team increased due to his kick return abilities.
Even so, for the sake of discussion during a boring offseason, let’s ponder the possibility of Johnson joining quarterback Peyton Manning in Denver to compete for a roster spot. The Broncos have a lot of young talent at the position, but not a lot of starter experience, with the exception of Stokley.
Shortly after news broke of Johnson’s release, Broncos cornerback Drayton Florence Tweeted: “@OchoCinco #MileHigh if you want that hardware.” For those needing an interpretation, see: “Hey Chad, come to Mile High if you want to win a Super Bowl with us.”
Johnson replied: “I got my asthma pump,” presumably being interpreted as: “Heck yes, I would love to play at high altitude with one of the best quarterbacks of all time.” Florence concluded that he has a spare room, clearly lobbying for Johnson to sign with Denver.
While Johnson appears to be interested in Denver, we have no reason to believe the team is interested in him. With thirteen players competing for a handful of open wide receiver spots, the Broncos won’t be in need of another receiver unless a notable receiver on the roster suffers an injury.
In my opinion, the Broncos should stay away from the likes of T.O., Johnson, Plaxico Burress and Braylon Edwards — Thomas and Decker don’t need those kind of influences in the locker room. What’s your take? Should the Broncos make a run at Johnson? Or stay away?