Defensive end isn’t really a need for New England, but if trading Chandler Jones becomes a reality, bringing in Johnson should be something that intrigues the Patriots. Newly released defensive end Charles Johnson, formerly of the NFC Champions Carolina Panthers, missed seven games in 2015 due to a hamstring injury and ended up having a down regular season totaling only one sack in the nine games he did play in.
DOB: JULY 10, 1986
These stats would normally cause concern, especially because he lined up next to Kawaan Short and Star Lotulelei, but he put all those concerns to rest with with his strong post season play. His strong post season run included a sack in each game to total three and two forced fumbles, he had one of each in the Super Bowl. He will be 30 on opening day, but he can still overpower the tackle or dip low and bend around the edge to beat the tackle to the outside. You can see instances of both in this highlight video.
I see him more of a fit in New England than Mario Williams, who will probably have higher pay demands and who also had problems playing for Rex Ryan, and that in itself is a concern because players love playing for Ryan and Belichick is undoubtedly a harder coach to play for than Rex. This is why I prefer Johnson to Williams, and even though Johnson’s regular season numbers have dipped in each of the past three seasons, in New England, he wouldn’t have to anchor a side and play 80 percent of the snaps, he would just simply have to fit into the rotation with Sheard, Ninkovich, Flowers, Grissom, and if he isn’t traded, Jones. This would allow the veteran to stay fresh and would enable Belichick and Patricia to unleash Johnson in obvious passing situations. I think you can tell from the videos, Johnson still has the ability to just beat his blocker straight up with either power or quickness and in a limited role, could be even more efficient, think 2011 Mark Anderson.
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But as of right now, it’s a toss up to what his worth would be on the open market, as he might have drove up his price with the aforementioned post season performance, and of course, the ever-lasting need for edge rushers in today’s pass heavy league has put a premium on the position, but as with every other talented free agent on the market, if the price is right and winning is more important than the salary, I would like to see Johnson brought in to see just how much he has left in the tank.
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