Peyton Manning? Tom Brady? LaDainian Tomlinson? No!
Jeffery Chadiha thinks its Larry Johnson.
The Chiefs wouldn't win three games if Johnson wasn't available this season.
The Chiefs respect Chadiha's analysis so much, that they seem perfectly content in forcing Johnson to play under his rookie deal this year, even if the alternative is a holdout.
If the Chiefs were to start a replacement level back instead of Larry Johnson, Football Outsiders estimates that it would cost them about 42 points, or roughly 2.5 wins.
Michael Bennett is a better than replacement back, to the tune of 1.5 wins above replacement if he had seen the carries that Johnson saw last year.
2006 Kansas City: an 8-8 team without Larry Johnson. Jeffery Chadhia: a total moron.
He set an NFL record with 416 carries in 2006 and their offense seems to deteriorate a little more with each passing season.
And will likely deteriorate significantly this season because Larry Johnson did carry the ball more times last year than any player in NFL history. Ever. Johnson would have to be some freak of nature to get more than halfway into this season without breaking down a la Curtis Martin and Shaun Alexander the last two seasons.
Right now, Kansas City likely will have a first-time starter at quarterback (second-year veteran Brodie Croyle), a depleted offensive line that lost its two best players over the past two years (offensive tackle Willie Roaf and guard Will Shields) and a corps of wide receivers that ranks near the bottom of the NFL. In other words, the Chiefs had better give Johnson the new contract he covets if they want to have any optimism about their offense this coming season.
If the goal is to generate optimism, Chadiha might have a point. However, if I were to build a sports franchise, my goal would be to get the best players on the field I could. And while Johnson is a great runner, history suggests that hes doomed to injury or ineffectiveness this year. But, hey, thats nothing $56 million can't fix, right?