Blog Entry

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:14 am
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Posted by Ryan Wilson

With all the excitement about there finally being football, and the subsequent frenetic pace to free agency and the start of training camps, it's easy for some story lines to get lost in the mix.

Take the Titans, for example. They signed veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to help rookie Jake Locker find his way into the starting lineup. The Titans also released Vince Young, the former franchise quarterback who is now playing on a one-year deal in Philadelphia.

Whoever ends up under center in Tennessee will rely heavily on the running game. This assumes that Chris Johnson, one of the two best backs in the NFL in recent years, isn't still holding out. Johnson hinted at that eventuality in June, when players were organizing workouts and the lockout was still in full swing.

NFL Network's Jason La Canfora wrote at the time that, "The idea of another 'band-aid' deal, after three highly productive seasons, isn't appealing to Johnson, and a contract in the range of the $5 million per season extension that Jamaal Charles signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last season isn't what he's thinking, either. Johnson has talked in the past about wanting to join the ranks of those garnering $30 million in guaranteed money, and if the free-agent cash begins flying around in a furious manner post-lockout, don't expect his desire to wane."

So it wasn't much of a surprise that Johnson wasn't there Sunday night when the Titans held their first practice open to the public. And it sounds like he won't be showing up without a new contract. “It won’t happen again,” Johnson said, according to the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt. “This is the last time without me having a long-term deal.”

One problem: the Titans won't negotiate as long as Johnson holds out.

“We told Chris and his agent we are willing to sit down and talk about a contract, but he needs to get into camp before we are willing to do that,’’ Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said. “That is kind of our position. He needs to be here with the rest of the Titans, getting ready to play games.

“He is a good football player, we have a good relationship with Chris and his agent and we hope that would continue. (But) he is under contact. He should be here; everybody else is. It’s the right way to do it.”

Johnson's currently slated to make $800,000 in 2011. Given his production in recent seasons (including 2,006 rushing yards and 14 TDs in 2009), he's due a raise. The problem -- at least for Johnson -- is that it doesn't make salary-cap sense to pay him a deal that includes, say, $30 million in guarantees. Running backs are fungible; alternatives to Johnson are out there and much, much cheaper.

And for the Titans, that means more flexibility to address other roster needs. To put it another way, Johnson rushed for more than 3,300 yards and scored 25 TDs the last two seasons and the Titans went 8-8 and 6-10.

NFL Network's Solomon Wilcots sees it differently. “Let’s face it, Chris Johnson is the straw that stirs the drink for that football team. He has done so much for them over the past three seasons and they’re going to lean on him again. … Without [him], they’re not going to strike fear into teams. It would be hard for them to win it all. The Titans have to get that situation worked out as soon as possible and make him happy.”

We agree. The Titans need to work this out. What they shouldn't do, however, is pay Johnson a huge chunk of change (even if he's worth it -- and he is) because we've seen how this movie ends.

If you're still not convinced, how about this: the previous eight Super Bowl winners didn't have a high-priced, top-5 running back on the roster. What they did have, however, was a franchise quarterback. Teams can survive without one but not the other.

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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:47 am
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp



fghdfre
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:35 pm
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hgtrerte
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:25 pm
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tomlye
Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:50 pm
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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 11:02 am
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:16 pm
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

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Since: May 13, 2009
Posted on: August 10, 2011 9:31 pm
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

the titans are a train wreck.  bottom feeder this year along with Carolina. 



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: August 4, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

CJ deserves his contract rather than being handed a bottle of Vasaline by the Titans organization.

C.J got his contract, he signed it and obviously liked it at the time and so did the team.  Now all he has to do is play it out, honor his agreement with the team and when it's done go get more money from somewhere else.  Oh wait, I guess he's afraid if he gets hurt playing out this contract he won't get the big one coming up? Guess what? The team is afraid as well !!! Why should they sign him to a new and huge guaranteed contract early with big money up front when all that risk is there?



Since: Aug 4, 2011
Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:06 pm
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

@ Lumpoco. Are you serious. What hole did you just crawl out of. There are two teams in the NFL that CJ would not be the starter for. You sound like a bitter fan who had his warm milk taken from him. You have just called out two guys as over rated who should not even be mentioned in the same breath as over rated.

What you were actually doing here is just trolling. your comments make no sense and you were just trying to say whatever you could that was controversial in order to incite everyone to get upset.

Lets just strike your goofy illigitimate post from the records and let everyone move on. Most people in here are opinionated, sports does that to us.

CJ deserves his contract rather than being handed a bottle of Vasaline by the Titans organization.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 7:01 pm
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

Tennessee had the toughest schedule in the league last year along with Houston. Not only did they play the NFC East but include Pittsburg ( the #2 run defense in the league ) and San Diego ( # 4 run defense in the league ). A. Foster had 1600 yards last season 180 came in the last game of the season against Jacksonville. Johnson didn't even play in the last game of the season. Johnson is the # 1 or # 2 running back in the league the past two seasons. He has proven himself, showed his loyalty, and needs to be paid, so do him justice.

So players that prove themselves and star players can ask for a ton of money in the middle of a contract and get it but when an owner dishes out 10, 20 or even 30 million in guaranteed money to a player that doesn't perform the owner can't get a refund?  So what you're saying is players with great stats should get early extensions and players with terrible stats that got paid big dollars get to keep their money as well?  Does that make any sense to you?  REALLY? 

Listen man, it's not that hard. You can't have it both ways.  You want great players to get rewarded but bad players to get their money as well.  It can't be like that... it just can't.  You guys argue that owners can cut anybody they want but forget how many millions they dished out by the time they could cut the guy.  

Until players are willing to sign performance based deals and agree to be paid in that way, I think everybody needs to play out their contracts.  No early extensions. 


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