New York Jets sign Chris Johnson to two-year deal

Running back Chris Johnson has signed a two-year deal with the New York Jets. (Getty Images/AFP...

Running back Chris Johnson has signed a two-year deal with the New York Jets. (Getty Images/AFP file photo)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:27 PM ET

Presumably, there’s more tread left on Chris Johnson’s tires than there was on LaDainian Tomlinson’s.

That’s what the New York Jets are hoping, at least, after they signed the free-agent running back on Wednesday, following a three-day courtship.

The Tennessee Titans cut free the 28-year-old Johnson two weeks ago, after failing to find a trade partner.

In six seasons in Nashville, the lightning-fast Orlando native was a Pro Bowler three times. In 2009 he rushed for 2,006 yards, set an NFL mark for most yards from scrimmage (2,509) and averaged 5.7 yards per carry.

But in the four seasons since then, CJ’s average dropped to 4.2, including 3.9 last fall. Has he hit the dreaded running-back wall? Maybe.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, though, has seen his own team’s rushing attack struggle mightily over the past three seasons. Ryan hopes he finally has a dangerous go-to back in Johnson.

Tomlinson had nine years under his well-worn belt in San Diego when he joined the Jets in 2010. In his final two NFL seasons under Ryan, LT rushed for 1,194 yards total, but most of those were in 2010. In 2011 he watched mostly from the sideline.

Jets GM John Idzik had been ridiculed mightily through the first few weeks of free agency for doing little to improve his roster. But the signings last month of wideout Eric Decker and quarterback Michael Vick (even if he just pushes Geno Smith), and now CJ, give the Jets offence the chance to be markedly better.

Signing Johnson was a good move for the Jets. And relatively inexpensive. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports the deal is worth $8 million over two years, excluding incentives.

JOSH BY GOSH: The New York Giants, meantime, signed free agent Josh Freeman. It’s just a one-year deal.

You remember him — the quarterback who began the 2013 season as Tampa Bay’s starter, had a huge falling out with then head coach Greg Schiano, got cut, signed with the Minnesota Vikings, laid a massive egg (against the Giants!) on a mid-season Monday night, then languished as the Vikings’ third-stringer for the rest of his miserable season.

Freeman now will compete with Curtis Painter and last year’s struggling rookie, Ryan Nassib, to be Eli Manning’s backup. Freeman is sure to get enough reps this spring to show his stuff to Tom Coughlin and the Giants coaches, as Manning recovers from last week’s ankle surgery that will keep him out until training camp.

On that awful Monday night, then Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier rushed Freeman out way before he was ready. It was truly hide-the-kiddies viewing. Freeman completed 37% of his passes (20-of-53) and looked as utterly lost as you’ve ever seen an NFL passer.

Freeman is only 26, entering his sixth season. He’s been an interception machine in his career, though, throwing more picks (67 total) than touchdowns in three of his five NFL seasons.

In that regard, the way Manning played last season, Freeman might find himself right at home.

PRYOR DISENGAGEMENT: The Oakland Raiders reportedly are still trying to shop quarterback Terrelle Pryor prior to next week’s beginning of voluntary off-season conditioning workouts.

After watching from the sidelines for two years, Pryor started nine games last season before being benched for undrafted rookie Matt McGloin.

Pryor, a third-round pick in the summer 2011 supplemental draft, has been predictably enigmatic as an NFLer. A dazzling runner going back to his college days at Ohio State, Pryor continues to prefer making his biggest pass plays from outside the pocket, where he can be lethal given run-or-pass options.

But the NFL game demands a passer make plays from the pocket. Pryor still hasn’t been able to adjust. It’s something Johnny Manziel might soon discover.

ABOUT THOSE WORKOUTS: If you’re confused as to the start of off-season team conditioning and workout programs, here’s how it works. Teams with a new head coach already have launched theirs. All other squads begin theirs next week.

Bear in mind, everything before mid-June mini-camps is voluntary. Players who choose not to attend for whatever reason — contract holdout, more partying to do, video games yet to play, whatever — cannot be disciplined.

THE DONALD: Donald Trump is seriously considering bidding for the Buffalo Bills, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reported earlier this week.

In an interview, the combover/condo king vowed he would keep the club in Buffalo should he become owner.

“I’m going to give it a heavy shot,” Trump said. “I would love to do it, and if I can do it I’m keeping it in Buffalo.

“I live in New York, and it’s easier for me to go to Buffalo than any other place. Where am I going to move it, some place on the other side of the country, where I have to travel for five hours?”

Actually, sir, you could relocate it to Toronto and add only minutes to your flight.

But rocker Jon Bon Jovi already has that intention. As his publicist told QMI Agency last week, Bon Jovi “remains passionate in his pursuit of an NFL franchise.”

And a Toronto source said Bon Jovi is expected to bid for the Bills as frontman in a group that includes Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum, among others.

Founding Bills owner Ralph Wilson died late last month. The team is expected to sell as early as this summer for up to $1 billion.

2014 SCHEDULE: Reports say the NFL finally will release the 2014 schedule Tuesday evening. If it seems overdue, you’re right. The NFL traditionally releases the schedule on a Tuesday in mid-April, not that deep into April.

Each team’s matchups already have been determined. All that’s left to find out is the dates and time of day of those games.

SPEAKING OF OVERDUE: A reminder that the NFL has pushed forward the draft this year until May 8-10. It has traditionally been held on the last weekend in April. It’ll be more mock draft mania until then.

john.kryk@sunmedia.ca

@JohnKryk

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