Jun 22, 2007
There’s a reason I’ve been talking about the #3 pick being the toughest one of all in 2007: Larry Johnson. By now you’ve probably heard about or read the interview Jason Whitlock (who has been hard on Johnson in the past) did with the mercurial runner.
This is a very complicated situation, but the bottom line is a holdout is definitely possible, if not likely at least in terms of the early stages of training camp. Johnson and his agent have said that their interests in getting a new deal is simply “good business” and they are actually correct when they say that; Johnson is grossly underpaid. But there’s just something about this guy that rubs you the wrong way. He rubbed Dick Vermeil the wrong way, that’s for sure, and Vermeil is a guy who cried about Laurence Phillips, of all people. Vermeil is a guy I once approached in a men’s room of all places about coming on a local sports TV show I was on. I was a kid at the time, in my mid-20s, yet he returned all my calls and came on the show.
Despite the fact that he deserves the money, there’s just something about LJ that would make me very hesitant to give him “LT Money.” I’m not sure I want to pay him a salary comparable to what Peyton Manning gets. That’s the big problem for the Chiefs. Complicating matters even more, we should all know by now after the Trent Green fiasco that GM Carl Peterson is a stubborn man.
This really could be the biggest holdout since Emmitt Smith’s in the 90s, when he sat out the first two games of the season. I’ve already moved Johnson down to #3 at RB behind Steven Jackson, but I think at this point I would take Frank Gore over LJ. The deeper we get into the summer, the larger my list of RBs I’d take over LJ will get. Let’s not forget that even if he’s a happy training camper, this is a still a weak team. We could easily get the point at which I don’t want anything to do with Larry Johnson.
I’m off now for a weekend trip to the mountains of Virginia with my two sons to do some hiking, canoeing, etc. Hopefully, we’ll all be back Sunday night in one piece.