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San Diego Chargers trade for DT/DE Travis Johnson

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The more I think about this trade, the more I think it could have a major impact on the Chargers 2009 season.  While we were initially told Bingham would be back in the first few weeks of the regular season, now there's talk of him going on IR.  Also, with almost no practice time and no time in the preseason, Cesaire isn't ready to jump in and be a starter.  Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Vaughn Martin both show promise, but neither are ready to be the starting DE opposite Luis Castillo. 

Does this mean that Travis Johnson walks in to the starter's spot when he gets to practice today?  Tough to say.  I think how quickly he can pick up the defense and his work ethic will help to decide that, but he certainly walks in as a competitor for the starting job.  If he performs well in that position, this trade will be a steal.  That's nothing to bank on though, considering the Texans are being very open about this trade happening because they were going to cut Johnson anyways.  Onto the reaction from around the league:


Chargers trade for defensive lineman from Texans
The Chargers moved Monday to bring experience and depth to their defensive line, acquiring Travis Johnson in a trade with the Houston Texans. For Johnson, who will play end in the base defense and move inside in the nickel package, the

Chargers gave up a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft that could become a fifth-rounder based on Johnson's playing time. Johnson got caught in a new defense with a new coaching staff and has been considered something of a disappointment after the Texans drafted him with the 16th overall pick in 2005.

"Johnson looks forward to "fresh start"" by Chargers Blog
Johnson has been sidelined all preseason after sports hernia surgery, but he was scheduled to play Friday for the Texans. He is expected in San Diego tonight and could practice tomorrow. He will likely suit up for the Chargers on Friday against San Francisco.

Chargers acquire former first-rounder Travis Johnson |
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Chargers gave up a sixth-round pick that will turn into a fifth-rounder if Travis Johnson meets minimum playing time requirements.

Unlike Jason Babin, Johnson has displayed starting-caliber skills at some points in his career. This deal seems like a good risk for San Diego. The Texans were just fed up with his inability to stay healthy and there have been whispers about his work ethic.

Texans deal DT Johnson to Chargers - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
The Chargers acknowledge—through their actions—that their defensive line is an area of concern. They let defensive end Igor Olshansky leave as a free agent to Dallas in the offseason, and his replacement, Jacques Cesaire, had his training camp derailed with a calf injury and hasn’t worked in about three weeks.

Ryon Bingham, who plays behind Cesaire, has been out with an arm injury that is considered serious. Earlier in camp, Turner declined to shoot down speculation that Bingham could end up on injured reserved, which would erase the possibility of him playing this season.

"We haven’t made a decision on Ryon as far as long-term," Turner said Monday. "But (Johnson) kind of gives us another guy."

Chargers trade for former top pick - AFC West - ESPN
He was drafted by Houston in 2005 as a 3-4 end, but in 2006 the Texans’ changed leadership and went tot a 4-3 defense. Johnson didn’t fit the new scheme.

Jacques Cesaire and Ryon Bingham have been dealing with injuries, so Johnson could be a help. He can also be a backup at nose tackle. This is just another classic A.J. Smith insurance policy move.

With Johnson dealt, Texans look to other DTs - AFC South - ESPN
While I was in Houston recently, Johnson was still out recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia. But the company line was that while Johnson got a lot of grief from the media and fans, he ate up blockers the way the team wanted him to. Maybe it’s reasonable to think now, they were just trying to keep his image as polished as they could knowing they were going to try to get something for him.

Report: Texans trade Travis Johnson - Houston Texans
In four seasons, Johnson has played in 54 games with 106 tackles, two sacks and one interception. His best season came in 2007, when he had 41 tackles and five pass deflections. Last year, he played in 14 games and finished with 28 tackles and a sack.

Travis Johnson--The Tragedy Of - Battle Red Blog
It's not any scout or coach's fault for his being overvalued in the draft or miscoached on the team. He just doesn't have the heart that's needed to truly make it at this level. Unfortunately he still has all that raw ability, so he will likely stick around for many years just coasting on natural talent rather than desire. He'll never come close to his full potential with this attitude, and unless he changes it he'll never be a fan favorite for any team he plays for.


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