More David Johnson Speculation

January 26th, 2020

Additional chatter.

One national columnist refers to this as a “bold” move. Joe thinks it is about as bold of a prediction as guessing Joe will drink a Big Storm Brewery beer on a hot summer Friday afternoon.

Maurice Moton over at Bleacher Report has a list of “bold” moves teams could make this offseason. He has the Bucs making two. One is signing expected free agent quarterback Tom Brady. Yeah, that would be bold.

The second is acquiring Cardinals running back David Johnson.

Even if the Buccaneers don’t make a bold push for Brady, Johnson would add another dimension to their attack. He’d join an offense that ranked third in scoring and yards in 2019.

With a middling defense, Tampa Bay can attempt to outscore opponents or control the clock by using Johnson on the ground. If defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ group comes up with timely stops and turnovers, the Buccaneers may be playoff contenders.

Well, first, Moton is once again guilty for not watching the Bucs and just gazing at season totals. The Bucs defense was damn good in the final weeks of the season — did Moton not watch the nationally televised Texans-Bucs game on NFL Network with Kay Adams in the house?

Joe has been writing for weeks he would be surprised if Johnson is not on the Bucs roster.

He’s one year removed from having a decent year (1,386 yards from scrimmage in 2018 — better than Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones have ever had), which was when Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was on the Cardinals’ offense staff took over at midseason as Arizona’s offensive coordinator.

Johnson found himself on the bench in Kliff Kingsbury’s first season. If the Cardinals keep Johnson, he’s looking at a $9 million salary. That’s a whole lot of cactus for a backup running back. So Joe doesn’t expect Johnson to remain with the team.

With the Bucs running backs unit one of the worst in the NFL, Joe strongly hopes the Bucs both draft a running back and sign a free agent. Johnson would be that free agent.

Please Bucs, don’t just hope the running attack fixes itself. Attack the weakness!

32 Responses to “More David Johnson Speculation”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:


  2. Bucemup Says:

    If they keep Winston the Bucs have to fix their running game! You already see what happens when you drop him back 40-50 times in a game. You’re asking for at least 3 picks. When we have a big lead in teams they always seem to get back in the game because of poor running game. Please Bucs draft and sign a back. You trotted out three backs last year and only one of them had potential. That would be Ronald Jones and even he’s not a finished product. Get some more game breaking backs beside Jones that can take one to the house on any given play. Bruce might have to rethink the air it out attack and establish some toughness in the trenches. Competition for Jones would make him better as well. Make him earn his carries.

  3. Buczilla Says:

    I completely agree. Get this Johnson dude and try to find a bruiser in the draft to smash defenses. Brady is not coming here though.

  4. Bird Says:

    OJ for David Johnson?

  5. Clean House Says:

    NFL and sports world would be so fun if Jameis went to New England and Brady came to Tampa.

    Who thinks thi would be fun to see? Think about it, Just for fun.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Guess I don’t understand the fascination with David Johnson. His first year (2015) he did OK (about 1,000 combined yards). That’s what RoJo did last year. His second year (2016) was exceptional (a little more than 2,000 combined yards). Same year that Doug Martin excelled BTW. Spent his 3rd year (2017) on IR after ONE game, and hasn’t been the same RB since IMO, averaging 3.65 Yards/Rush in those 2 years and gaining a tad over 2,000 combined yards in both seasons together (again, about the same as RoJo did last season). Johnson’s catch percentage out of the backfield is a very pedestrian 67.3% (not impressive at all). RoJo has averaged 77.6% catch percentage, while Peyton has averaged 73.1%.

    Could Johnson regain his 2016 form? Of course. Would he regain it if we hired him? No way to know I guess unless we sign him … for a few million. Or we could just re-sign Doug Martin, whose career averages (4.1 Yards/Run and 68.5 catch%) are slightly better than Johnson’s (4.0 Yards/Run and 67.3 catch%). Probably save enough cash in the process to DRAFT A ROOKIE RB to REALLY complement RoJo.

  7. stpetebucsfan Says:


    As usual agree with D.R.

    ROJO is already playing at a higher level than Johnson! Why would we dump millions on a back that is a slightly larger, definitely slower back than ROJO? We do not need another big play speed back who catches out of the backfield. We need a mauler!!!

    Johnson is a couple inches taller and 15 lbs heavier but he is not smash mouth!
    He would be a more experienced version of ROJO.

    D.R. makes excellent points. First of all you have to believe that Johnson could duplicate his ONE big year from three years ago to make this deal. 2 of his past three seasons have been busts! In fairness largely due to injuries.

    So which back’s stats are on the rise and which are declining? That’s not even close. ROJO projects to have a much better 2020 than Johnson. Why would we pay Johnson big bucks when we have ROJO with plenty of time left on his rookie contract?

    Here is the 2019 production of both backs….ROJO is already better than Johnson and has ENORMOUS upside. ROJO runs a 4.4 40 Johnson 4.5

    Johnson only started 9 games and played in 13 he’s only started 16 games twice in his career. Are we not concerned about the most important ability…availability.

    Johnson has hardly been known as a “durable’ back. Last year he rushed
    94 times for 345 yds a pedestrian 3.7 average. His pass output was 370 yards catching 76% of his targeted attempts. TOTAL offensive yards 715 TD’s 6

    ROJO’s stats were DRAMATICALLY improved from his rookie year!!!

    172 carries for 724 yards 4.2 ypc Caught 31 passes 309 yards
    TOTAL offensive yards 1033 far better than Johnson’s 715 Both had 6 TD’s.

    Here is the surprising stat…just perception….perhaps I was the only one..
    Johnson known as a great receiving back ROJO known as needing work with the “hands” department. % of catches when targeted…
    Johnson 76.6% ROJO 77.5% his rookie year 77.8% Johnson’s career 67.3%

    I absolutely do not understand why we would do this! Yeah he has the BA connection. If we make this move he better return to his form of his second year when he did have a great season! One year out of five…three years ago versus a 3rd year player whose trend line is up.

    If we do this Johnson better explode again or I’m going to lose some respect for BA. Football coaches have trouble thinking out of the box…playing rookies..and they love any player who has had past success with them. Signing Johnson would be the quintessential Chucky/Koetter move! Play ROJO.

    FIND a big bruising back in the draft. Pick two of them…one high and another project at least 6-2 235 and very mean.

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    If Arizona cuts him they take a $18 million cap hit. If they trade him they take a $6 million cap hit.

    Move on from this idea. He’ll be on their roster for the 2020 season.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … The world’s pretty clear at 4 AM isn’t it. By 6 AM it goes downhill rapidly. You tickled me with the ‘at least 6-2 and VERY mean’. I get this image of a junkyard dog paired with RoJo, chomping at the bit to devour someone. Works for me.

  10. NOLES Says:

    I agree with you all no DJ please..

    @ St Pete said it right & I like the idea of a couple of bruising backs like the kid from BC.. 6’2 235 type of Christian Okoye running backs To pair w ROJO..

    Whoever it is needs to pick up the blitz. We telegraph our play calls bc whoever is playing RB bc they know they don’t like to leave ROJO in on passing downs. Etc…

    We need RB’s that can do multiple things to give us some versatility in play calling..

    That UCLA RB in senior bowl yesterday looked like a great pass catching back. Maybe pair him with kid from BC if coaches think ROJO wont continue to improve

  11. Todd Says:


    Excellent and obvious point. No one takes an $18 cap hit in this story!

  12. NOLES Says:

    Joshua Kelley is the UCLA RB I mentioned in Senior bowl

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Yeah…lately I’ve been spending too much time up at 4 sleepy by 6.

    I share your vision of a junkyard dog…the kind of player to go beast mode who actually looks for contact for the pleasure of “trucking” his opponent.

  14. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Perine RB from Florida looked good in the Senior Bowl. He will be there in the 3rd round, maybe even the 4th.

    Let Barber walk.

    Sean Sullivan’s favorite RB, James Robinson, looked good in the East-West Shrine Bowl. He will be there in the 5th.

    Of course, Gump has an eye on that fullback from Northeastern South Dakota State. He will probably move up and grab him early in the 2nd round.

    In all seriousness, the kicker from Georgia Southern looked great in the Senior Bowl. Great range, very accurate and hopefully not a head case. (7th)

  15. BigHog Says:

    So tied of kicking the tires on free agents …if the free agent can’t come in and be a long term starter , leave his ass where he at! That’s why our cap space stayes in a cluster f*^k…draft the best O/lineman in round #1 …then draft the best kick returning-running back in round 2 …and a D/Tackle in round 3…in rounds 4 through 7 draft best player available!! 2020 YEAR OF THE BUC!!

  16. alaskabuc Says:

    Johnson’s best days are well behind him. I don’t see this as much if any of an upgrade over Barber at this stage in his career. Go get Hunt in free agency with the knowledge he is probably sitting out a coupe games. Draft a running back in the 2nd or 3rd, pick up a few UDFA and go from there.

  17. I Bleed Pewter Says:

    After a couple games Joe wouldn’t be happy and will swear he never once advocated for his signing …smh

  18. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “FIND a big bruising back in the draft. Pick two of them…one high and another project at least 6-2 235 and very mean”

    @StPete, excellent post. If we could get Johnson cheap, he would be an improvement over Dare and Barber. But if not, PASS! Also, when you put Rojo’s stats out there, it really makes you wonder why on earth BL has Dare (1.5y/r) and Barber (3.1y/r) getting as many plays as they do.

  19. Bird Says:


    Why you taking my poster name ?

  20. AwShbucs Says:

    If we somehow managed to land Jack Conklin in free agency, it wouldnt be ludicrous to then turnaround and select Jonathan Tayler in the first round of the draft.

    Those 2 additions would make it possible to close out games by going smash mouth and running out the clock. Like Byron Leftwich tried to do many times this year but was unable to.

  21. Formerly Tampa 2 Says:

    Still say that signing the D is most important move for 2020. Like Awshbucs says, Sign Jack Conklin if possible. Thwn draft a decent QB that Arians likes. I think that Rojo needs to show what he can do with a decent front line. A good
    FA signing will free up moves in the draft.

  22. Hodad Says:

    Who cares what he said about Johnson, what caught my eye was he said we’d make a push for Brady! Personally, I’d rather see a washed up Brady be our 2020 starter then Jameis. I’d bet Tampa would be completely sold out for at least 2020 to see the GOAT play a season here. It would be the boldest move in team history, including trading for Gruden. We’d be the most talked about team instantly. And why not us? We have two pro bowl receivers, and bring back Perriman. Imagine Tom Brady throwing to those guys instead of.

  23. Bucs Guy Says:

    We can”t afford Conklin at $20M unless you go rookie QB. Perine of FL is too small and the same with James Robinson. Take a look at Patrick Taylor Jr from Memphis. He missed the first half of 2019 due to injury, but his 2018 was very good. He’s a big bruiser who should be available day 3.

  24. Bucs Guy Says:

    Brady is a dream. Get over it. If he leaves NE, he’s going to the Chargers. That’s the Bucs only hope to get Herbert and please don”t even consider Love/Freeman 2.0.

    Go for OLine, DLine and RB in the first 3 rounds. Trade OJ for a 2nd and 4th.

  25. BucEmUp Says:

    David Johnson will end up getting the same production as Ronald Jones or Barber. Unless you get a Saquon Barkley its not going to make a difference.Our oline pass blocls.on run plays and our run plays are obvious before the snap.Didnt Kenyan Drake come in and do what Johnson couldnt do? Johnson is hurt every year. I wouldnt touch him. Ronald Jones is a game breaker but Leftwich likes to give the majority of catries to his third string rb.

    It wouldnt surprise me to see the Bucs over pay for and high mileage injury prone free agent rb and then only give him 1/3rd of the snaps among the other rbs though….Weak link needs to be replaced

  26. Joe Says:

    ROJO is already playing at a higher level than Johnson!

    That’s simply inaccurate. The last time Johnson was a starter (a year ago) he put up far better numbers than RoJo ever has. It is all detailed above.

  27. Stanglassman Says:

    Joe-Address the 18 million dollar cap hit the cards would take if they cut him. Are you suggesting a trade? Would the Bucs pay him 8 million?

    If these figures are correct as people cited from the cap websites I just don’t see how Johnson to Tampa is feesiable.

  28. Marine Buc Says:

    I’m fine with Johnson joining the team but we still need to draft an RB in round 2-4. I would rather let Barber and Dare walk.

  29. Joe Says:


    Spotrac has a significantly less cap hit. As in roughly 40 percent of his salary.

  30. Stanglassman Says:

    Thanks Joe. This info is from Az central. They had him as the top cap casualty choice.

    RB David Johnson RB David Johnson
    Johnson’s cap hit in 2020 is more than $14 million. However, the Cardinals can’t simply cut him or they will lose more than $4 million in cap space because it would generate more than $18 million in dead money because his 2020 salary is fully guaranteed.

    Cutting him is not an option, but trading him is. In a trade, they would save more than $8 million in cap space, although it would generate $6 million in dead money.
    Johnson’s cap hit in 2020 is more than $14 million. However, the Cardinals can’t simply cut him or they will lose more than $4 million in cap space because it would generate more than $18 million in dead money because his 2020 salary is fully guaranteed.

    Cutting him is not an option, but trading him is. In a trade, they would save more than $8 million in cap space, although it would generate $6 million in dead money.

  31. Allbuccedup Says:

    Don’t need another big salary player unless it’s a QB or defense.

  32. pick6 Says:

    the bucs need to find the next david johnson, not sign the broken down remains of the current david johnson. good teams know the RB position is a turnstile. get punishing runners on rookie contracts and let some other team pay him for the 4 years they gave their body up for you.