Cleveland Browns fans remember the story of WR Charles Johnson, who was billed as having some of the same tools as WR Josh Gordon. Two years ago, Johnson was on injured reserve, meaning last year was his chance to prove himself in training camp. Johnson did not end up making the 53-man roster, but the Browns placed him on their practice squad. Less than a month later, the Minnesota Vikings signed him off Cleveland's practice squad, and later in the year, he became a starting receiver for them. Now, it looks like Johnson is ready to take off, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan:
Notes and observations from #Vikings camp in AM, but I can tell you that WR Charles Johnson is the real deal.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 30, 2015
Browns did try to keep him (Matched MIN offer), but familiarity with Norv Turner's offense was the big reason why he chose to sign with MIN.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 30, 2015
I don't recall Caplan's tweet being previously reported, but he says that the Browns matched the Vikings' offer, meaning they were willing to promote him to their 53-man roster in order to retain his rights. Johnson thought he had a better opportunity for playing time in Minnesota, so he signed with the Vikings. The end result is a great move for Johnson, who gets a shot at being a No. 1 receiver, but a disheartening one for Cleveland, knowing they were oh-so-close to getting it right with Johnson.
I don't fault the Browns for the whole situation, and Zac Jackson sums it up with this tweet:
Browns cut him last year not because they're the Browns but because he STUNK in camp. Then took off, of course. https://t.co/u6Ltj9SXAP— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) July 30, 2015
We were waiting for Johnson to break out and show us any sign that he had Gordon-like potential. Nothing stood out throughout camp or the preseason.