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Tag:Chris Johnson holdout
Posted on: September 18, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Titans fans boo Chris Johnson in win over Ravens

Posted by Will Brinson



On Sunday, Mike Munchak get his first career win as a head coach thanks to the Titans steamrolling the Ravens, 26-13.

The Titans moved to 1-1, but there's got to be some concern with the performance of Chris Johnson, who got a big new contract from the Titans after a prolonged holdout, and who rushed for a paltry 53 yards on 24 carries.

His performance was so lackluster that Tennessee fans started booing the franchise running back during the team's win.

"It didn't really bother me at all," Johnson said, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Perhaps it doesn't bother Johnson now -- his team's 1-1 after the victory Sunday. But they should probably be 2-0. Even if they were undefeated, though, it's pretty hard for Johnson to justify his performance thus far in the season given that he refused to show up for training camp and even tried to refuse to "only" take enough money to make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Titans, Johnson agree to 4-year, $53.5M deal



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chris Johnson has a new contract. According to the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt, the Titans and Johnson agreed to four-year, $53.5 million deal with $30 million in guarantees. It took all of training camp and almost the entire preseason, but one of the NFL's best running backs will return to Tennessee's backfield in time for the start of the regular season to do what he does best: take pressure off the offense and put it squarely on opposing defenses.

Last month, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said that the organization was willing to make Johnson the NFL's highest-paid running back. Johnson wanted more, and the stalemate continued until Thursday.

Wyatt writes that Johnson was scheduled to make $1.065 million in 2011. With an average salary of $13.5 million, his contract not only makes him the NFL’s highest paid running back, it also puts him in a category among the game’s “elite” players.

Chris Johnson Gets Paid
Wyatt continues: The highest paid running backs in the league make roughly $9.5 million to $10.5 million per year annually over the first three years of the deal. Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is scheduled to make $10.7 million in the final year of his contract. Last month, the Panthers reached a deal with running back DeAngelo Williams that gave him $21 million in guaranteed money.

Johnson and the Titans met last week but the two sides remained far apart on a new contract. On Wednesday there were reports that there was finally "positive movement for the first time," and, a day later, Johnson has a shiny, new deal. Now the running back will be under contract for the next six years through 2016. 

The 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Johnson led the NFL in yards rushing the past three seasons. In 2009, he became only the sixth man in NFL history to rush for at least 2,000 yards and ended the year with 2,006 yards.

The Titans, who wrap up the preseason Thursday night at New Orleans, wanted Johnson to at least have a few days of practice with new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in a revised offense under coordinator Chris Palmer and new head coach Mike Munchak. The only other running back with any NFL carries is Javon Ringer with 59 in his career, and he has been hurt most of the preseason. Rookie Jamie Harper from Clemson started the past two preseason games for Tennessee.

Fullback Ahmard Hall said Tuesday that Johnson would have some work once he does arrive to learn the changes in Palmer's offense, especially with the different terminology. "You're going to have to think," Hall said, according to the Associated Press. "You're not going to just be able to roll in and hit the ground running as if coach (Mike) Heimerdinger were still here. Coach Palmer has put in a lot of good things, bu the language is different. He's definitely going to have to think. The sooner he gets in the better."

With Johnson's contract now out of the way, all that's left is to get Tennessee back to the playoffs. That journey starts in earnest on September 11 when the Titans face the Jaguars in the regular-season opener.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Report: Positive movement between Johnson, Titans

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's something. And at this stage of the proceedings, with the regular season barely a week away and the Titans' offense in dire need of a playmaker, any indication that Chris Johnson could return to Tennessee with a new contract is reason for optimism.

On Wednesday night, the Tennessean's Jim Wyatt is the bearer of potentially good news (via Twitter, naturally):

"Now for Johnson's contract news, and it's better. Sources say there has been positive movement for the 1st time between Titans and Johnson."

Pretty vague, yes, but it's certainly better than the headline we saw exactly a week ago: "Titans, Chris Johnson end meeting without deal."

And since the Titans have made it clear that they won't trade Johnson, there was only one of two ways this standoff would end.

One, Johnson could remain on his couch, as the Titans began the season with a rookie quarterback a play away from taking the field, only willing to budge if the team made him one of the league's highest paid players. Or two, the two sides could continue to negotiate a new contract, one that would pay Johnson somewhere between what the top NFL player pulls down and what the top running back makes.

For now, at least, the latter scenario appears to be prevailing. Whether it continues is contingent on, well, money.

We talked about it on Wednesday's Pick-6 Podcast, but why are talks heating up now, days before the season opener? It's not like the Titans didn't know games started on September 11. Or that their offense, as currently constituted, features Matt Hasselbeck and not much else. (Kenny Britt is working his way back into shape and Johnson, obviously, is resting comfortably at the crib.)

Chris Johnson's Holdout

On the other hand, Johnson knows the offense and if Tennessee really does plan to back up the Brinks truck (we've gone on record at least a dozen times but, yeah, we're against it), there's no need to have him hurt himself in training camp or preseason games.

Whatever happens this much is certain: the Titans' offense is better with Johnson. How much better … well, that remains to be seen. Don't forget, Tennessee was 8-8 and 6-10 the last two seasons.

On the upside: Johnson hasn't yet told the organization to "STFU" so the two sides are still communicating. And for now, that's a good thing.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Chris Johnson tells 'fake Titans fans' to 'STFU'

Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier on Wednesday, we brought you the story of the MRI that Arian Foster posted on Twitter. This drew some attention. But probably not as much attention as Chris Johnson's string of tweets on Wednesday afternoon that were directed at 'fake Titans fans.'

"Can these fake Titan fans STFU on my timeline I don't have a regular job so don't compare me to you and I can care less if uthink I'm greedy," Johnson tweeted.

For those not down with the hip language that the kids use, "STFU" is a non-too-friendly request for someone to "shut the [expletive] up. (The really cool kids, like me, have moved on to saying "Shut the front door!" but that's neither here nor there.)

If you're a real Titans fan and feel offended because of Johnson's tweets, you shouldn't. He still loves you.

"If you was a real fan my tweet would not bother you it only make the fake fans upset," Johnson added later, while also tweeting "Luv the real fans."

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Obviously, these tweets are related to Johnson's contract situation -- he's currently holding out for what I like to call "Manning money," and won't be satisfied until the Titans make him not just the highest-paid running back in the NFL, but one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.

We've covered most of this ground already. If you want a primer on why Johnson shouldn't get paid the amount of money he wants from Tennessee, you should absolutely read my colleague Ryan Wilson's excellent breakdown on the situation.

It's also abundantly clear that the Titans can't/won't trade Johnson. And we know that Johnson isn't a great candidate to cave and just show up for work until the Titans actually satisfy his demands for more money.

But this latest social-media barrage is indicative of a guy who's extremely frustrated with his situation -- the Titans may eventually pay Johnson the amount of money he wants, but by flailing out at fans on Twitter, whether they be "real" or "fake," Johnson isn't doing himself any favors in terms of showing how calm he's taking the negotiating process.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Munchak: Titans not trading Chris Johnson

Posted by Will Brinson

The Titans and Chris Johnson had a little pow-wow in Nashville recently, and things -- to quote CJ2K himself -- got "worst." Johnson departed the meeting without any deal and it sure seems now like his holdout could last into the season.

This has many people wondering if the Titans would trade one of the top running backs in the game. In fact, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Johnson's camp could seek a trade as its next step. But according to Titans coach Mike Munchak, it'll probably be fruitless of them to do so.

"I would think we wouldn’t do anything. We would think he is under contact for two more years; he is going to be a Titan, hopefully longer than that,”"Munchak Thursday, per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "I don't think that is anything we’d give any consideration to.

"He is with us, one way or the other, and hopefully it is on the field."

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Munchak also added that the Titans front office "hadn't talked about" a potential trade involving Johnson.

And that's probably true, and there are a number of reasons. For starters, who the hell is going to be able to meet a) whatever bounty the Titans want in exchange and b) whatever salary demands Johnson has once he arrives in his new camp.

The answer is "almost no one." After all, if you thought the Kevin Kolb trade the Cardinals made was a doozy, imagine what it would take to move Johnson.

Plus, Bud Adams isn't the type of owner, as noted by his recent quotes, to just cave to Johnson, particularly after a lengthy lockout that eventually yielded a CBA which was specifically designed to punish players that held out.

There's still probably a good chance that we end up seeing Johnson squeeze a little more cash out the Titans as Labor Day approaches, but expecting them to give him "Manning money" just to get him on the field is an unrealistic proposition.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 3:28 pm
 

Chris Johnson to meet with Titans GM Reinfeldt

Posted by Will Brinson

The Chris Johnson holdout saga has reached somewhat of a breaking point. We're now just a few weeks away from Tennessee's season opener and not only is a deal "not close" but Titans owner Bud Adams is expressing frustration at the running backs' refusal to play.

So here's some potentially good -- or potentially "worst" -- news: Johnson is flying to Nashville Wednesday with his agent to meet with Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt.

"Flying out to Nashville tonight to meet with Joel and the GM in the morning to see which way were going," Johnson tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. "Could get better or worst."

So, yeah, no real "news" in terms of whether or not Johnson and Joel Segal (his agent) are actually going to make progress with the Titans on a new deal.

However, Johnson is actually showing up in Nashville, even if it's only to get in a conference room war of words about how much money currently divides the two sides.

So that's good news. In theory.

Chris Johnson's Holdout

Our own Ryan Wilson has made a compelling argument why the Titans shouldn't pay Johnson and it's hard to fault his the logic. Basically: Johnson's a running back and regardless of how talented and explosive a playmaker he may be, he's got a short shelf life and is much more replaceable than other players in the league.

The Titans surely know this and regardless of whether or not Johnson's saved up his money while expecting a lengthy holdout, are probably not willing to destroy their salary cap for the foreseeable future in order to make Johnson happy and get him into camp.

At the same time, there's no doubt that Johnson is one of the few true gamechangers at his position and arguably the most dynamic running back in the NFL.

He's been vastly underpaid to this point in his career and seems willing to do whatever's necessary to ensure he gets his money now. Whether or not either side is willing to compromise will determine whether things gets better or worst.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:14 am
 

Johnson wants new deal, Titans want him in camp

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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com