Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on the Texans Trading CB Lonnie Johnson to Kansas City

Lonnie Johnson can now go chase receivers in Kansas City.
Lonnie Johnson can now go chase receivers in Kansas City. Photo by Jack Gorman
For the first time in years, there are positive vibes in and around NRG Stadium. Nick Caserio's nine man draft class is the biggest reason why everyone is so happy right now. Anything that is going to harsh these feelings must be quickly swept away, especially any toxicity that might infect any of this rookie class.

The most important rookie, without a doubt, is third overall pick Derek Stingley, Jr., the cornerback out of LSU. He might wind up being the most important selection Nick Caserio makes during his tenure as general manager for this football team. So it stands to reason that if a beleaguered, backup cornerback is getting at all jerky about his current lot in life, Caserio needs to ship his ass far, far away from Stingley.

And so it was that Lonnie Johnson was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday afternoon for a conditional 7th round 2024 draft pick, which is basically the NFL equivalent of haggling on the last remnants of a garage sale. "FINE, just give me a conditional 7th round pick in 2024 for this set of TV trays, and let's call it a day already!"

Johnson had foreshadowed the trade on his Twitter feed on Monday around lunchtime, par for the course for one of the more immature, attention seekers on the Texans.
So it's off to Kansas City for Johnson, who heads into the final year of his rookie contract, but might not even make the team. Here are some thoughts on this trade:

The one defense I have for Lonnie Johnson....
Make no mistake, Lonnie Johnson's failures as a an NFL player thus far in his career are mostly the fault of Lonnie Johnson, but I will make one defense for him. For whatever reason, the Texans never seemed to be able to determine exactly what his best position was. His rookie season in 2019, Johnson played cornerback. Then in training camp in 2020, he was moved to safety. In 2021, Johnson started the season as a safety, and was moved to cornerback during the season. That's a tough way to go through life, especially when it was in conjunction with multiple head coach and GM changes. That's my ONE defense for Johnson. The rest? Well, here goes....

That said, Lonnie didn't do himself any favors
Lonnie Johnson was largely drafted because of his physical traits. Brian Gaine, the GM who selected Johnson back in 2019, would reiterate the words "height, weight, speed" ad nauseum, when he would select players who embodied that phrase. Johnson was one of those. However, the level of play never matched up with the physical attributes. Johnson was careless in executing assignments, routinely blowing coverages.

In 2021, he would make "business decisions," when he would avoid contact near the goal line. His lack of maturity manifested itself on the field when he would point fingers at teammates after he would blow assignments. Bottom line, he just isn't a very good football player. Maybe that changes with a change of scenery.

This makes total sense for Kansas City, though
And the change of scenery brings me to the Chiefs' side of this equation. Sure, Johnson has been an underperforming, immature football player in Houston over the last three seasons, but Kansas City is giving up virtually nothing to acquire him. A conditional 7th round pick in two years about as meager an offer as an NFL team could make, and it should be a wake up call for Johnson that the league thinks so little of him to where that is ALL he is being traded for. For the Chiefs, they get the equivalent of a scratch off ticket — if it hits, cash it in, and if it doesn't, toss it in the trash. To Johnson's credit, he is reaching out to his new teammates.


Time to tally up the lack of bodies still remaining from pre-Caserio
I summed thus up on Twitter after the trade, here you go:
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast