The 2022 NFL offseason is coming to a swift conclusion. With free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the final big items on the agenda are training camp and preseason games. Training camp will kick off this upcoming week around the NFL, with preseason contests following up shortly.
But even though training camp is right around the corner, that doesn’t mean that teams are done adding or subtracting players. There are still a lot of helpful players on the free agent market as training camp rolls around, and one of the most impactful players remaining is running back David Johnson.
Johnson isn’t the same player he was back in his All-Pro heyday in 2016, but he’s still a valuable running back who can create big plays out of the backfield as a runner and a receiver. With training camp creeping up, chances are he will draw some more interest from a running back needy team. Here are the three best destinations for Johnson with the 2022 NFL season closing in.
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David Johnson: 3 best destinations
3. Houston Texans
At this stage of his career, David Johnson is going to have to decide if he wants consistent playing time, or if he wants to try to win a championship before he retires. If he wants the most playing time possible, it may make sense for him to return to the Houston Texans, which is where he’s spent the last two seasons of his career.
The Texans are perilously thin at running back heading into the 2022 season. They are currently set to role into the season with Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead as their top two backs, with 2022 fourth round pick Dameon Pierce and Royce Freeman rounding out the depth chart. Given the injury concerns that come with both Mack and Burkhead, adding Johnson as an extra layer of insurance, while also giving him a chance to compete for a starting spot, would make sense here.
Given Johnson’s lack of usage by Houston last season, and the fact that he’s still a free agent, it seems unlikely that a reunion between the two sides would be in store here. If the Texans decide that they want some help at running back, though, Johnson would be a logical choice given his familiarity with their offense and the low cost associated with him.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Speaking of potential reunions for David Johnson, the Arizona Cardinals are another team that may be looking to add running back help before the 2022 season kicks off. Johnson, of course, spent the first five seasons of his career with the Cardinals, where he burst onto the scene as one of the top running backs in the league.
Again, Johnson isn’t the player he once was, but he could offer a nice change of pace to the Cardinals current core of running backs. James Conner will be leading the way after his 18 touchdown season in 2021, with Darrel Williams set to serve as his backup. The Cardinals loved to use two running back sets with Conner and Chase Edmonds last season, so it would make sense for them to add another back to help their cause.
Johnson still has value as a dual-purpose running back, despite his decreasing productivity. Arizona is one injury away at the running back position from being in some serious trouble, so bringing back Johnson would make some sense for a Cardinals team that is looking to be a serious contender in the NFC.
1. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills appear poised to make a Super Bowl run in 2022. They have beefed up their roster significantly this offseason to help them avoid a disappointing playoff loss for the third straight season. One spot they could potentially use some help at, though, is running back, which is where David Johnson comes into play.
Devin Singletary is the lead back heading into the season, but he’s been rather inconsistent throughout his career. 2022 second round pick James Cook should be right behind him, with Zack Moss and Duke Johnson rounding things out. There are a lot of question marks here, with Singeltary, Moss, and Johnson all being less than reliable throughout their careers. Cook has a ton of promise, but counting on him right out of the gate seems risky.
Adding Johnson would be an insurance policy of sorts given the question marks on the depth chart for Buffalo right now. He wouldn’t start, but he could spell guys a rest and still make impact plays when on the field. If you want to be a Super Bowl contender, you can never have too much talent on your roster, which is why the Bills could certainly afford to add Johnson during training camp.