The Kansas City Chiefs have traded a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick to the Houston Texans in exchange for defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr., according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The team later confirmed the deal.
Johnson, 26, first entered the league as a pick made by the Texans in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After Johnson played cornerback at Kentucky, the Texans first played him there as a rookie before converting him to the safety position. The mixing of positions has kept Johnson from finding a groove as a pro.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, Houston selected cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. third overall and safety Jalen Pitre 37th overall, adding fuel to the fire. Johnson hinted at a trade request on his official Twitter account on Monday.
Sports Radio 610’s Landy Locker later suggested that Johnson’s departure from Houston may be best for both parties.
Lonnie Johnson asking for a release would be the latest of a buffet of strange things he has done since being here. Not really asking for it, but saying he did would be more on brand though. Should happen no matter what, don't want him around the young core. #WeAreTexans— Landry Locker (@LandryLocker) May 2, 2022
In 44 regular-season appearances (19 starts), the 6-foot-3, 213-pound Johnson accumulated 172 tackles (128 solo) and 13 passes defensed, including three interceptions. All three of his interceptions came last season.
The Chiefs spent two of their top four NFL Draft picks on defensive backs before spending three Day 3 picks on defensive backs. To some extent, it seems that general manager Brett Veach’s offseason strategy has been to invest quantity in the position and see what sticks.
The move for Johnson fits that trend.