Just days after telling Dwayne Jarrett that he'd "take care of him" down in Carolina, Keyshawn Johnson was released yesterday by the Panthers.
The 11-year veteran will turn 35 this July, and over the course of his career has caught 814 passes for 10,541 yards and 64 TDs. His 2006 season with the Panthers. . .the fourth team he's played for in his career (following the Jets, Buccaneers and Cowboys). . .saw him catch 70 balls for 815 yards and 4 scores.
And, unless someone's asleep at the switch, the Minnesota Vikings should have been on the phone with him approximately 30 seconds after his name hit the transaction wire.
Now, don't get me wrong. . .I'm not an overly huge fan of Keyshawn Johnson, the person. Not by any stretch. He's a jerk, he's self-centered, and he might even kick puppies in his spare time. But look at those numbers above from last season, particularly since he's considered to be "aging" and "declining."
Now look at the numbers the Vikings' wide receivers put up last season. Taking tight ends and backs out of the equation here for a moment. . .Johnson had 13 more catches for 164 more yards than our leading receiver (Travis Taylor) and as many TDs as our top WR in that category (Marcus Robinson). And he was playing with Jake Delhomme, a guy that nobody's going to be mistaking for John Elway in the foreseeable future.
Being a jerk isn't illegal in the National Football League. Far from it. Being a jerk isn't illegal in Minnesota, either. . .hell, we tolerated Randy Moss for 7 years, after all. A potential Keyshawn Johnson signing for the Vikings would certainly upset a few people, which is understandable. But the guy produces ON the field, and with as many young wide receivers as this team has, I think Johnson would be a welcome addition to this offense. He'd give Tarvaris Jackson a reliable target (something he lacks right now until proven otherwise), and would make the rest of the offense around him better as well.
More importantly, while he's been a jerk when it comes to off the field matters, I don't recall him ever being in any legal trouble off the field. As I said, being a jerk isn't a crime. . .it's an annoyance, to be sure, but it's not a crime.
So Zygi, Brad, Rob, Rick, whoever. . .get on the horn with Keyshawn's agent and get him in here. At LEAST take a look at the guy, please? It couldn't hurt, really.