When the Chargers waived Johnson, I was genuinely shocked. He's only 25, his cap hit is 466k, and he had amazing chemistry with Herbert last year.
He had 398 yards, 3 TDs and averaged nearly 20 yards a catch. It seemed like every play you'd see him in, he would get some huge deep ball play, roasting the opposing DBs in the process. If it wasn't that, he was at least a constant deep threat that freed up the rest of the receivers by keepin' the defense honest. To give a little stats behind this, he played 12 games and had four different 40+ yard catches. That puts him at T3 for most in the league and only 1 behind Davante Adams, Diggs, Hill, Metcalf and more.
So why would the Chargers waive him? I assumed that there had to be some underlying issue, but there doesn't seem to be one. Coach Staley said:
“It was a tough one, a really tough one,” Staley said. “T-Billy has done a lot for this team in the past and he did some good things for us in camp. That was one of the tougher conversations that I had today.
Just where we’re at from a numbers standpoint, and then the kicking game, being a big aspect of those back-end receiver roles. Just felt like going in this direction would be the right direction for us right now.”
So for him, it came down to the competitiveness of the WR room and the need for special teams. But I have a few questions with that. Firstly, we already know that Mike Williams is going to miss games. That is just who he is. With Keenan at WR1, who takes that WR2/3 spot? I would love for Josh Palmer to be there, but he is still a rookie and not quite there yet. Jalen Guyton out-performed Johnson statistically through 4 more games, but he doesn't have the same hands. KJ Hill has been solid on returns, so sure, makes sense.
But why not cut Easton Stick and go into the season with Herbert/Chase Daniel? Stick STINKS and you don't risk losing him on waivers. Why not cut either Joshua Kelley or Larry Roundtree? 4 RBs is just not necessary with Ekeler and Jackson at the helm. They probably could have gone without Kemon Hall at CB as well. It just seems to me that the wrong fat was trimmed here. What irks me more is the recent history of the Chargers-Jaguars cut pipeline, namely Josh Lambo.
The Chargers dumped Lambo for Younghoe Koo in 2017. After just a few games, they ended up cutting Koo as well and singing Nick Novak who went 1-4 form 40+ yards. Since 2017, the chargers FG& is under 75%, the lowest in the NFL. In that same timeframe, Lambo has the BEST FG% in the NFL at 95%. If that is any indicator, which it's not, then the Jaguars are going to turn Tyron into a huge weapon for their own young QB.