Monday, April 23, 2007

Chiefs to Trade LJ?

I know I am late to this party, but I blame that on the NBA Playoffs. Who can be bothered with every little NFL rumor that goes floating around the Internet? Except the possibility that the Chiefs might trade Larry Johnson is a pretty big rumor. Johnson has rushed for 3,416 yards and in 28 career starts (122.0 yards per game). Oh yeah, and he's scored 42 touchdowns in those contests. That is ridiculous.

So why would the Chiefs trade him?

Well, one reason is the nature of running backs. Last year we saw the Colts let Edge go and then win the Super Bowl. My buddy Gabe Higa once compared running backs to a set of tires. Never pay too much, feel free to burn them out, and then be sure to swap them out for a new set the first time you see a good bargain. That is kind of how the NFL looks at backs. Younger is better, cheaper is better, and so on. With a handful of intriguing backs in this draft, it makes some sense that the Chiefs might go that route.

Another possibility is that Johnson has worn out his welcome in some way. We know he had a hard time sitting on the bench under Vermeil (the famous "diapers" comment), but he also seemed to grow frustrated last year when asked to carry such a heavy load. He sounds a little like Goldilocks. Everything has to be just right. If the Chiefs aren't in the mood to put up with that, it makes sense to move him while he still has value. (Plus, he didn't exactly light up the Colts last year in the playoffs.)

However, that brings us to the last point. What could KC conceivably get for him? Clinton Portis brought the Broncos Champ Bailey, so that seems to be the best case scenario. Meanwhile, all Thomas Jones got the Bears was a better second round pick. I'm sure Johnson would bring something closer to Bailey, but you never know when it comes to dealing running backs.

And, of course, it could be that the Chiefs are merely bringing all these backs in to add depth, as the Star speculates.

All I know is that the more LJ is in the papers, the better it is for me, because it opens the floodgates to all kinds of Larry Johnson "Serial Father" jokes, thanks to the fact that he shares a name with the former New York Knick.


KC Fan said...

Johnson ran like he was on egg shells in that playoff game. Get him out. We need a 1-2 punch in KC with a power back and a scat back for third downs. Plus, the future is with Croyle and he won't be ready in time to match up with Larry's prime. So they should move him for picks and look to maybe 2009 as the year for rebuilding.

Real KC Fan said...

2009? Wow, talk about giving up. The NFL is the parity league of pro sports. Teams should never concede even one year, let alone two. Unless they plan to bring a faith healer in for Michael Bennett, they need to get every last yard out of Johnson. A Herm Edwards offense without LJ would average about 7 points a game.

Adam Hoff said...

To our two resident Chief fans:

I think you are both right, to some degree. That is what makes this a tough call. If KC can draft a decent back (like Arizona's Chris Henry or Louisville's Kolbi Smith) in the fourth or fifth round and move the chains with a young, cheap runner, it does seem to make sense to move Johnson for picks/depth/defense/whatever. Of course, there aren't a lot of sure things when it comes to replacing running backs (just look at the Jets since Curtis Martin, or the Titans since Eddie George), so the whole operation is pretty risky.

The question that people don't seem to be asking is where Johnson might end up if he does get traded. Nearly every team in the league has a guy slotted into the lead spot, and even if many of them suck, I'm not sure who is going to be willing to whip out the checkbook. Maybe the Giants if they think Jacobs isn't ready? Green Bay and Cleveland are both hurting, but seem likely to take Peterson and Lynch, respectively. Maybe Houston? I honestly have no idea.

According to AOL Sports, Buffalo is looking like KC's targeted trade partner, which makes sense, given the Bills' lack of a starting back.

Should be an interesting story.