EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The inevitable divorce between the Tennessee Titans and running back Chris Johnson is nearly upon us and though it won't make the waves the sudden release and pursuit of receiver DeSean Jackson made, it will draw plenty of attention.
When the deed is finally done and Johnson hits the open market, you can probably expect to hear his name connected to the St. Louis Rams early and often. For obvious reasons. The Rams are coached by Jeff Fisher, who drafted Johnson in Tennessee and was Johnson's coach his first three seasons in the league.
That time together included 2009, the year Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards and earned the nickname CJ2K. Johnson hasn't had a season as good as 2009 or 2010 since Fisher departed in 2011 though he ran for 1,243 yards in 2012.
On Thursday, ESPN Insiders Matt Williamson and Field Yates joined Tom Carpenter in looking at potential fits for Johnson. Despite early indications from the Rams they aren't going to be Johnson's ultimate destination, they still appear on the list.
And honestly, I can understand why. If Johnson was a random running back who played in, say, San Diego, I'd be more inclined to believe the Rams won't at least kick the tires on Johnson. But Johnson played for Fisher in Tennessee and that has been a common theme amongst many of the team's free-agent signings since Fisher arrived in St. Louis.
It started with cornerback Cortland Finnegan and rolled on with defensive end William Hayes, tight end Jared Cook and, most recently, wide receiver Kenny Britt. If Johnson's cost isn't great and, as columnist Ashley Fox writes, it probably won't be considering the going rate for running backs these days, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the Rams looked into adding him on a deal similar to what Britt received.
As Williamson and Yates point out, Johnson would represent a speedy alternative to starting back Zac Stacy's bruising style.
When it's all said and done, I'd expect Johnson to end up somewhere else as the Rams seem committed to second-year backs Stacy and Benny Cunningham. Until Johnson signs elsewhere, though, it would be unwise to completely discount the Rams as a possibility.
A roundup of Thursday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we looked at the impact of Jadeveon Clowney's pro day and how it could shift things for the Rams in terms of the No. 2 overall pick. ... Next, we took a deeper look at Mel Kiper Jr.'s "Grade A" mock draft from the Rams' perspective. ... Next, we looked at the Rams' 12 picks in May's draft and how they might need to do some moving around to keep from having so many selections to make. ... Finally, the league released the dates for the start of the team's offseason program and organized team activities.
Chat: Per weekly custom, I'll be hosting the usual Rams chat on Friday at 1 p.m. ET. You can submit questions now or join us live at the time. Hope to see you there.
In his Insider piece, Mike Sando vets the options for the Texans with the first overall pick.
At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas writes that a local group hoping to keep the Rams in St. Louis will host a rally Saturday afternoon.
Turf Show Times offers Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins' recent interview with Jim Rome, including some words about the Rams as a possible landing spot.
At CBSSports.com, Rob Rang shuffles his list of top prospects.