NFL Free Agent Rumors: Jets ‘Really Like’ Chris Ivory-Chris Johnson Backfield; Bears Workout Josh Freeman

Chris Johnson

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The market is developing slowly for former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, but one team is not hiding how much they covet him.

According to the New York Daily News, the New York Jets “really like” a potential backfield featuring Johnson and Chris Ivory. The team is reportedly not concerned with the veteran’s work ethic, which was rumored to be one of the tipping points during Johnson’s tenure in Tennessee. The determining factor concerning if and when the team signs Johnson will be money.

Johnson was slated to earn about $8 million from the Titans this season, but a quick glance at what the top free-agent running backs earned this season would indicate he is not getting that large of a payday from any team. Donald Brown received the richest deals among backs, signing with the San Diego Chargers for $3.5 million annually. Ben Tate inked a deal worth $3.1 million per year, Knowshon Moreno signed on for one year at $3 million and Maurice Jones-Drew joined the Oakland Raiders at $2.5 million per year. In other words, Johnson must come to terms with a pay cut in order to sign with the Jets.

The first-known visit of free agency for former first-round pick Josh Freeman came Monday with the Chicago Bears, according to multiple reports. Since being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and not being re-signed by the Minnesota Vikings, it’s been quiet on the Freeman front. But the Bears are in the market for a backup quarterback since losing Josh McCown to the Bucs, and perhaps quarterback guru Marc Trestman can help Freeman salvage his career.

The Bears need depth at the position, and Freeman has flashed signs of being a capable NFL quarterback. He does need work, though, which is where Trestman comes in. It doesn’t seem as if there’s much of a market for Freeman, so the fit works out well for both sides.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.