Would Kansas City trade their Pro Bowl running back? Over the 2005 and 2006 seasons, RB Larry Johnson's production has been spectacular. Two great back-to-back seasons, but Johnson slipped a little bit in 2006 from his fantastic 2005 season. The "slip" only involved a drop from the best running back in the NFL to 2nd best, so at that pace by 2016 he should only be the 10th best RB in the NFL.
However Johnson hit a major milestone in 2006. He passed the 400 carry barrier. Aaron Schatz wrote the book on the Curse of 370:
It's simply a useful shorthand to represent the fact that overworking your running back with too many carries is a bad thing. The punishment gets worse and worse with more carries, and 370 is a close approximation of the tipping point.
Herm Edwards should be driven out of the NFL for overworking Johnson last season. Johnson probably enters 2007 tied with QB Vince Young
for the player most likely to blow out his ACL by mid-season.
Maybe Kansas City is doing the smart thing with Johnson at this point. Try and get one more quality season from him before he hits free agency in 2007 and draft his replacement now. But based on what Adam Schefter reported, it doesn't appear they are doing the smart thing:
Now, 2007 is scheduled to be the last year on Johnson's contract, which is one reason the Chiefs have been so active in bringing top college running backs to Kansas City for visits. And it doesn't look like Johnson is on the trading block, as some have speculated. Any team trading for Johnson would have to work out a long-term contract with his agent, and to date, there have been no contract talks with other teams.
Unfortunately for Chiefs' fans, since Edwards is still employed in Kansas City, it appears that this is just a bargaining ploy and they really want to lock Johnson up for the long-term.
Luckily for Packers' fans, the Packers have no chance at acquiring such a great running back who is so likely to fall apart physically in the near future.