Blog Entry

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

Posted on: August 11, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 7:21 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: Via the Twitter feed of Titans' beat reporter Jim Wyatt: "Asked about being offered a deal after lockout, Johnson said: 'Maybe they talked, but I guarantee we never received any offer.'" 


Titans running back Chris Johnson wants a new contract. Given that he's one of the two best running backs in the league and is set to make just $800,000 in 2011, he's right. The problem, at least until Thursday, is that Tennessee general manager Mike Reinfeldt said that the club wasn't willing to negotiate with Johnson until he ended his holdout. As of this writing, Johnson has been a no-show at training camp, even when faced with the possibility of losing a year of accrued free agency.

We've long been of the opinion that the Titans shouldn't pay Johnson "Adrian Peterson money," even if he's worth it because, in general, running backs are fungible. You can find productive players for a fraction of the cost with either late(r)-round draft picks or the waiver wire.'s Gregg Doyel disagrees with us, and luckily for Johnson, it sounds like Reinfeldt does, too.

According to the Associated Press Thursday, Reinfeldt wants to make Johnson the NFL's highest-paid running back, he just needs Johnson to show up first.

The AP also reports that Johnson's agent was the first person Reinfeldt called once the lockout ended, and Reinfeldt says that the two sides have already talked about the parameters of a new deal for Johnson, and they'd like to get him in training camp to learn new head coach Mike Munchak's new offense while negotiations are finished.

We're not sure if Reinfeldt is performing the one-man version of "Good Cop, Bad Cop," or if he suddenly felt compelled to take his message public, but either way, the timing seems odd.

Surely, Johnson and his agent knew that the Titans wanted the running back in camp before any new deal was drawn up, but at the same time, if Tennessee deems Johnson so important to their future, why don't they go ahead and, you know, make him the "NFL's highest-paid back?" Especially when Johnson made it clear that last year was the "last time (I'll report to camp) without me having a long-term deal. … It won't happen again."

And so far, he's kept his word.

The problem for the Titans, assuming they consider Johnson an integral part of their offense (and it sure seems that they do), is that either Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker will be under center. One's a grizzled veteran; the other the franchise's future, and both are in dire need of a running game to insure they don't get clobbered on a regular basis.

It's seldom the case that a player has leverage in a drawn-out contract dispute, but Johnson seems to be in pretty good shape right about now.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:57 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:30 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:24 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:27 am

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

I am interested in knowing who is CJ's agent?  You got one of the top running backs in the league get a deal done.  You got huge leverage if you cannot get the guaranteed money you seek than compromise.  Get sufficient but fair guaranteed money and than get incentives to increase the contract.  It's so freaking easy!

Since: Aug 22, 2010
Posted on: August 12, 2011 2:32 pm

Incentives WOULD work...

...if the right balance were struck. The goals would have to be reachable (That is, within the players ability)...No Ricky Williams style contract (His entire rookie contract was pretty much all incentive based...he would have had to be the best RB in NFL history to get all his money)...I dont have a breakdown...thats for much smarter NFL higher ups to figure out. There should be some gauranteed money but the bulk of the contract needs to be incentive based...The Haynesworths of the world just broke a sweat...

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 2:14 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

If the owners can cut a guy who's under contract when he underperforms, than a player should be able to hold out and renegotiate his contract when he overperforms.  I hate when I hear radio personalities or bitter former athletes saying that players should honor the contract they signed (ie Anquan Boldin in AZ).  I think CJ is doing what is best for his financial future because LT was the exception...most RB's only stay at the top for 3-4 years.  CJ will most likely be injured or beat up after two or three more seasons so he needs to get paid NOW.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:38 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

rfractman, i like your idea. or they could do something like fantasy football where instead of points, it's money. if the receiver scored a td, like in fantasy football, instead of 6 points, that receiver gets $60,000, same thing for the running backs or anyone that scores a td, including those that intercept the ball and run for a td, fumble recovery result in a td, etc.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:33 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

Why didn't they do all this once the lockout was over? Were the Titans seriously thought that CJ was not going to be asking more money since he is the top 3 rbs in the league? C'mon. There should be a clause in the contract that states that if the player far exceed his expectations, like being in the top 3 or 5 in his positions, his contract could be negotiated and if a player falls below expectations, like Ryan Leaf, lol, his contract could be revoked,lol.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:16 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

Pay the man some money.  I need him in camp we have a draft coming up here soon!

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Titans ready to make Johnson 'highest-paid RB'?

It's not fantasy football!

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