Keyshawn Johnson-ing verb
The act of the Carolina Panthers bringing in an aging, troubled receiver to both stimulate their offense, while also placating another aging receiver, thus making him secure he's not the only 'playmaker' in the passing game. First and last seen in 2006.
Five years ago the Carolina Panthers were coming off one of the most successful seasons in team history. The team went to the NFC Championship game, but were ultimately outmatched by the more explosive Seattle Seahawks. Veteran WR Steve Smith had a scintillating year as he amassed over 1,500 yards receiving and won the receiving triple crown.
Across the other side of the field it was a different story. No other Panther WR managed to get over 25 receptions, and it was RB DeShaun Foster who was 2nd on the team in passes caught. The solution then was simple: Get another weapon. The thought was that with an already effective running game, a 1,000 yard receiver like Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme who came off a pro-bowl year the sky would be the limit.
The Panthers signed the player (and the baggage) that was Keyshawn Johnson...
More after the jump...
The Keyshawn experiment worked pretty well for the Panthers in 2006, but the defense wasn't quite as good as advertised and when DeShaun Foster was relied on to be the feature back he was mediocre. That being said, Johnson finished with over 800 yard receiving and 4 TDs at the age of 33, so should that really dissuade the Panthers from trying this tactic again?
As it stands there are numerous veteran WRs rife for 'Keyshawn Johnson-ing'. We've discussed the usual players before:
- Randy Moss (34 years old)
- Chad Johnson (33 years old)
- Terrell Owens (37 years old)
- Plaxico Burress (33 years old)
Each of these four players are damaged, all carry their own brand of baggage and all of whom would come at a cheap price. They also share in common all being former 1,000 yard receivers and having being the kind of tall targets Rob Chudzinski has used in his offenses in the past.
Do you think the Panthers will go Keyshawn Johnson-ing this offseason? Personally, I think it's a difficult prospect only because of the young talent currently in the receiving corps. Who are you willing to lose to get one of these players? I'm not sure there's a good answer to that question, even if someone wants to give a tongue-in-cheek answer and slyly say 'Armanti Edwards'.
Suppose for a second though that roster isn't a concern... imagine the Panthers didn't need to worry about roster limitations. Which of these four WRs would you have the Carolina Panthers sign, should they decide to bring in a veteran WR? My answer is simple, and the polar opposite of when the question was posed this time last year.
I would sign Terrell Owens.
The reasons for this move are simple, to me he's the best option out of these four to be a vertical passing threat and could help a big armed receiver like Cam Newton. From a pure passing perspective Newton is similar in his delivery and arm strength to Carson Palmer, whom Terrell Owens worked incredibly well with last year.
Yes, there is absolutely baggage in bringing in Owens. However, I feel that Newton would have the stones to stand up to his ego even during criticism. I don't see Cam as the 'wilting flower' type that would be crushed if yelled at. Furthermore, I feel Owens is the only guy on the list who has true #1 receiver potential left in him. Adding TO would allow Gettis to start opposite him, and Smitty to get his wish- play out of the slot.
When you have two clowns in the same place you wind up with a circus, and that's what occurred in Cincinnati with Owens and Johnson, however, with Smith infused in the situation you have a player who just wants to win. He wont make talk shows with TO, he won't do push-ups in his driveway and you never know another big ego at WR could help keep Owens in check a little bit.
I'm stopping short of outright lobbying, but it makes a lot sense for a lot of different reasons.