Since the Miami Dolphins cut Chad Johnson within 24 hours of his arrest on domestic abuse charges this weekend, it’s easy to conclude that the decision was simple cause and effect.
Chad got arrested, so the Dolphins cut him.
But that’s not really how the NFL works. Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress, Donte Stallworth, and Mike Vick all got NFL gigs after committing serious crimes because they were good enough on the field for teams to tolerate their off-the-field issues.
So while Johnson’s arrest certainly didn’t help his cause, the Dolphins decision to cut him was easy for one simple reason — Johnson just hasn’t played well in the preseason.
In his column this morning, Peter King of SI dropped this hint:
Shortly after getting released from jail, he got released from the Dolphins — which well could have happened later in the preseason because he wasn’t off to a hot start anyway.
Who knows how Johnson had been performing in practice. But in Miami’s first preseason game, he caught zero balls for zero yards and had one drop.
And all this comes after a lost season in New England — where Johnson had just 15 catches and could barely get on the field for a team with limited vertical options at wide receiver.
When Miami signed him, the risk wasn’t that he would embarrass the team off the field. His antics — while absurd — were never considered to be that serious. Here’s what Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote last week:
He’s something of a flake. A clown. A cut-up. He needs to clean up his language because, as coach Joe Philbin says, he’s representing the team and this team wants to be represented in a certain fashion. But is Johnson dangerous? Is he going to get into violent disputes, either with people or family?
That’s not been his history so far.
The risk with Johnson when Miami signed him was that he was washed up. That’s why they only gave him a one-year, unguaranteed $925,000 contract.
The arrest was the last straw. But the Dolphins were always more worried about Johnson not being good enough on the field than being a distraction off it. And with an underwhelming training camp, he gave Miami no reason to tolerate him.
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2012/08/the-differences-between-chad-johnson-and-brandon-marshall.html#storylink=cpy
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