With the Texans' top rushers of the past two seasons both free agents -- Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde -- this was a position the team needed to address in some way.
Still, adding a 28-year-old running back who had not put in an exceptional season since 2016, especially at the expense of Hopkins, has not gone over well among fans.
McManaman described Johnson as someone who entered the league with a chip on his shoulder, a former wide receiver at a small college in Iowa who was converted into a running back.
Johnson saw instant success as a rookie in 2015, when he became the first rookie to score rushing, receiving and kickoff-return touchdowns in the first two games of his career.
In just his second game, Johnson scored on a 108-yard kickoff return, which tied the second-longest kickoff return in NFL history.
His signed game jersey and cleats are on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of the feat.
Yet it's been a while since Johnson was that kind of force on the football field.
Johnson's wrist was dislocated in the 2017 season opener, requiring surgery and a lengthy recovery. He missed the rest of the season.
Johnson then signed a three-year, $39 million extension with $30 million guaranteed just before the 2018 season. He started all 16 games and fell just short of 1,000 rushing yards (940).
In 2018, Johnson saw 308 touches (rushing and receiving) for 1,386 yards from scrimmage, showing he could still be a threat in the passing game.
In 2019, his production dipped dramatically. He started just nine games, had only 130 touches and 715 yards from scrimmage in a diminished role.
"The passion and drive, hitting the hole with will, I haven’t seen that in three years," McManaman said.
"It wasn’t a good fit here. Maybe he’ll find a new life there. He is a great guy. But I’m telling you, he’s not the same guy."
Listen to the full interview here: