Chris Johnson still sees himself as a running back who could gain 2,000 yards, but he's not going to get the chance. There's an open question in New York whether the Jets see Johnson as a workhorse back.
"He's got some miles on him," Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday, per The Star-Ledger. "So we're going to have to be strategic in how we use him, and when we use him, to keep him fresh so that he can be the explosive guy that I know that he can be."
Johnson is at the stage of his career where he could be more effective with fewer carries. He's not dynamic on passing downs or in short-yardage situations. The Jets will be better off splitting the workload between him, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.
"I really like the versatility; it'll really gives you the opportunity to do more things to attack the defense," Lynn said. "So with Chris' skill-set, combined with Chris Ivory's power-running game, and Bilal Powell's more of a combination of both, it's a really good quality to have in the room."
When ESPN.com's Rich Cimini broke out his "unofficial" depth chart this week, he surprisingly listed Johnson third at running back behind Ivory and Powell. We're not sure what to make of that since Cimini didn't provide any context, but it's fair to expect some sort of work sharing in New York.
Johnson complained in Tennessee when they threatened to split up the workload, but this is a different stage of his career. Johnson's contract ultimately speaks louder than Lynn's words. The Jets are not paying Johnson like a workhorse back.