In a move uncharacteristic of the Washington Redskins, they had not (until today) signed ..."/> In a move uncharacteristic of the Washington Redskins, they had not (until today) signed ..."/>

Redskins Make First Free Agent Move With Larry Johnson


In a move uncharacteristic of the Washington Redskins, they had not (until today) signed a single free agent. With a guy like Julius Peppers being called the biggest free agent since Reggie White, it’s an astonishing feat for a team known to make a splash.

Making it even more astonishing is that the NFL is in its first uncapped season since 1993, giving the spending-spree that Danny Snyder goes on every season limitless heights.

But now the Redskins have broken their silence and opened Snyder’s checkbook by overpaying former Kansas City Chief and Cincinnati Bengal running back Larry Johnson. Johnson and the Redskins have agreed to a three-year deal worth $12 million.

While it doesn’t sound like a lot normally, $4 million is quite a bit to dish out to a backup running back who has seen his best days come and go — similarly to the other running back the Redskins are overpaying in Clinton Portis.

Honestly, the only way it makes any sense to pay an over-the-hill running back to backup another over-the-hill running back that amount of money is if that second over-the-hill running back will actually be given a chance to overtake the first over-the-hill running back for the starting spot.

Strangely, I feel like most of you will be able to follow that.

Anyway, if Shanahan’s words about Johnson are any indication, it doesn’t look like Johnson will be given a real shot to take Portis’ job.

“We are excited to bring in a running back that has had so much success in this league,” Shanahan said in the team’s statement. “Larry is a physical runner who will be a great addition to our backfield.”

Or, in other words, “Insert generic statement here, please. I’m incredibly bored and uninterested.”

While I commend the Redskins for being so fiscally responsible early on in free agency, the response is not to come out and overpay someone just because you haven’t gotten the chance in a little while.

Sure, he’s not overpaid by that much, but LJ will be lucky if he sees 500 yards and three touchdowns next season, much less ever seeing the 1,000 yard mark that has eluded him since 2006.

If the Redskins really wanted to help quarterback Jason Campbell this season, they would have signed a guy worth overpaying like Thomas Jones or Chester Taylor. Absent a great pickup in the draft, the Redskin offense will struggle mightily, yet again, in 2010.