Cowboys + Chris Johnson? Word At Valley Ranch

IRVING - It seems that Chris Johnson is still telling people he's envisioning a connection with the Cowboys. And what are the Cowboys saying in return? The scoop, inside:

The Dallas Cowboys think they have their running-game solutions in-house -- either because Joseph Randle will win the job, or because RBBC will work effectively enough to allow for success in a post-DeMarco era. And if all that fails? Maybe there is an answer via a late-August trade for an accomplished back with size and tread left on his tires.

So why does Chris Johnson -- who lacks size and tread on his tires -- continue to get connected to Dallas via rumors?

Back in May, the former 2,000-yard rusher announced publicly that the Cowboys should "come holler." That's what got the rumor mill cranking then., with sources about as highly-placed inside Valley Ranch as possible, reported there was simply no connection, and no interest. Johnson is about to turn 30 (two years beyond when Cowboys personnel people believe a heavy-use runner falls off the cliff), he's smallish, he's got some personal issues (the latest of which: He was shot and sustained injuries in a drive-by shooting that killed a friend) and, most of all, he simply hasn't been a productive NFL back in years.

That dazzling 2009 season with the Titans in which Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards is a running-back lifetime ago in the opinion of the Cowboys ... and that opinion was held in May and it's still held as of Sunday, when sources reiterated the Cowboys' view here. Johnson signed a contract with the Jets last year, rushed for just 663 yards, and this offseason was effectively cut by New York. ...

And the Dallas personnel department essentially agrees with the Jets' evaluation here.

The respected Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that "several NFL executives'' are bringing up the Cowboys as a possible destination for Johnson. And while that indeed might be their view from the outside, our feeling is that it is Johnson himself who is the driving force here, along with the continuing misinterpretation of something Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said in May when he politely answered a question about Johnson by saying he is "on a short list of ours.''

There is an "emergency list'' of players, at every position, that exists in every teams' personnel department. Chris Johnson's name is present on all 32 of those lists. But it's not a "short list'' in Dallas; if it includes Johnson, it's a long list, with Jones simply being polite in describing it.

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