Trading Johnson Makes Little Sense

Regardless of your position on running back Larry Johnson, the Chiefs have no choice but to keep him and hope that he can turn around what many think can be a productive career. With reports circling this past week that a deal was imminent with last years first round draft pick, one thing is certain; Kansas City needs Larry Johnson.

I don't buy into the theory that his career is beyond repair or unsalvageable. In fact, stories like Johnson's are littered all over the NFL. The fact it Johnson is languishing behind Superman. Priest Holmes might just be the best NFL back in recent memory. So Johnson has to be second fiddle or third fiddle in this case because the Chiefs have Johnson listed as the third back behind Derrick Blaylock.

Though I adamantly disagree with that move and that's probably what has contributed more to Johnson's frustration than anything else. Though reports of a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for disgruntled wide receiver Keenan McCardell made the rounds; the Chiefs in fact never made the offer. They were not about to trade Johnson for an aging wide receiver with a penitence for stirring up trouble. That's why they passed on Tim Brown when the Raiders cut him.

No the organization has little choice but to keep Johnson and despite the reasons why he was drafted a year ago; the Chiefs need to do a better job of keeping Johnson in sync because there will come a day when this team will need him.

Eventually Superman will succumb to Kryptonite and Blaylock is not the answer as an every-down back. Johnson is that answer and the Chiefs need to start using him to spell some relief for Holmes.

After Holmes was almost split in half against the Panthers, Johnson spent the entire week prior to the Houston Texans game getting ready for some well deserved playing time. But Clark Kent ripped off his street clothes and made an amazing return from an ankle injury that some in the media indicated would keep our Super Hero out for months.

Well Holmes was able to return to his old self and Johnson sat. On Monday of last week, trade rumors swirled between the Miami Dolphins on a deal that would have sent safety Arturo Freeman and a third round pick to the Chiefs for Johnson. But that was never on the table. The Dolphins have no draft picks left to deal after a multitude of trades that have depleted their future picks.

Then the Dallas Cowboys were showing interest willing to part with wide receiver Antonio Bryant for Johnson straight up. Well then Bill Parcells chimed in and said not interested.

Finally the McCardell rumors started to increase but it was all smoke and dagger. Plus if the Chiefs really want a top-notch wide receiver they can call up the Pittsburgh Steelers who are trying to move Plaxico Burress. They've called numerous teams including the Chiefs but no takers. He could be had for a fourth or fifth round pick before the NFL trade deadline.

So trading for McCardell when Burress is twice the receiver albeit it with twice the attitude, makes no sense and the talks never materialized. It made for some good internet fodder but in reality player for player swaps in the NFL is as rare as Chiefs wins these days. Besides with the emergence of Chris Horn; Chiefs fans would much watch a young receiver of his attitude and work ethic become the next Ed McCaffrey then give the ball to an aging veteran who might have one or two seasons left; that's if he ever steps on a football field again.

Instead Johnson remains and its important with the bye week coming up after Monday Night's Ravens game, that Dick Vermeil and offensive coordinator Al Saunders start making him a part of the game plan the last 12 games of the season. Forget playing Derrick Blaylock other than in obvious passing situations on third and long plays. Other than that, he's not worth sacrificing the future of Johnson.

Trading Johnson so he can be productive with another team will only cause more problems that exist now. Johnson is not misunderstood and he's not a cancer in the locker room; instead he wants to get on the field to try and help his 0-3 team get back on track.

Its high-time the Chiefs let him do just that. It's apparent in NFL circles that Priest Holmes might step down after this season and that means Johnson will be the Chiefs starting tailback next year. It's time to get him involved in the offense this year so next year the team can focus its off-season plans on more deserving positions.

That means Johnson needs to start getting the rock now.


WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories