Tag:Adrian Peterson
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:53 pm
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Chris Johnson wants all of Tennessee's reps

JohnsonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Now that Chris Johnson has been paid – and paid quite handsomely, mind you – he realizes he’s going to have to start earning his four-year, $53.5 million ($30 million in guarantees) contract rather quickly. Which is cool by him.

“I’d like to get all the reps, that’s just the type of player I am,’’ Johnson told the Tennessean. “At the end of the day, it is more than just about the big contract and getting all the money. That’s the business side.

“But the type of player I am when I am out there on the field, I want to be the best and when it is time to win I want the team to count on me. I want to put the team on my shoulders and steer us to victory.”

Johnson returned to Nashville on Friday to sign his new deal and meet with his coaches, and on Saturday, he plans to practice with his teammates. And as far as his goals this year? Aside from helping his team to the postseason, he, not surprisingly, is planning to rush for 2,000 yards (you might recall that he said the same thing last year but managed “only” 1,364 yards).

But until then, he can count his money as the richest running back in the game.

“It looks like it is a great deal for both sides,” said Joel Segal, Johnson’s agent. “I think Chris got a great deal, I think the Titans got a great deal.”

And soon enough, Adrian Peterson will get a great deal as well. And maybe -- just maybe -- Peyton Hillis as well.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Peterson will benefit from Johnson's new contract

PetersonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

You know who’s really happy about Chris Johnson’s new mega-extension (the four-year, $53.5 million deal with $30 million of guaranteed money that we told you about earlier? Yes, Chris Johnson, of course.

But the second-happiest person might be Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. Last week, the Vikings press corps asked Peterson about Johnson’s holdout in Tennessee. “Pay the man,” Peterson said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Now that the Titans have, Peterson is set to cash in as well. Probably at an even higher rate.

Peterson, who was the highest-paid back in the NFL before Johnson inked his new deal, will make $10.72 million in this, his contract year. But Peterson obviously wasn’t in a hurry to sign a new deal without seeing what Johnson agreed to first. Now that Johnson has set a new standard among running backs and with Peterson set to be a free agent after the 2011 season, Peterson likely will look at Johnson’s guarantee and go even higher.

As the newspaper writes, “Peterson is in perpetual competition with Johnson. He hates it when people say or even suggest Johnson is the league's best running back. The Vikings could let Peterson play out the final year of his contract at $10.72 million this season and then stick the franchise tag on him for about $12 million next season. That would save money, but that also comes a likely giant mess.”

Mostly because it would upset Peterson.

And with a new franchise quarterback in Christian Ponder set to take over the team, and considering Peterson is still only 26 and probably has a few more productive years left in his body, the Vikings don’t have much of a choice. They’re going to have to pay him, and they’re going to have to pay him well.

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 pm
 

Why the Titans shouldn't pay Chris Johnson

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chris Johnson wants to get paid. We don't blame him. It's just that the Titans can't do it. Not because they're cheap, or Johnson is undeserving, but because running backs are fungible. We're not willing to say they're a dime a dozen, but it's close.

Look, there's no disputing that Johnson and Adrian Peterson are the two best running backs in the NFL. But the difference between them and the NFL's 32nd-best back is negligible when compared to the differences between, say, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and whoever your candidate is for the league's worst starting quarterback. The same holds for wide receivers, left tackles, cornerbacks, safeties -- basically every position but running back.

So why is that?

For starters, the shelf life for a top-flight running back is remarkably short. A study by Doug Drinin of Pro-Football-Reference.com found that RBs usually decline by age 28, WRs by age 30 and QBs by age 32.

In a story published in January 2005 in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Carl Prine explained that the sheer brutality of the position coupled with overuse has also played a role.

"The average career of an NFL back is 2.6 years and falling, according to the National Football League Players' Association. Players, coaches and historians interviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review blamed the mayfly careers of rushers on the … high number of carries they get in an age of free agency," Prine wrote. "Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, teams rarely asked their backs to touch the ball more than 230 times in a season.

"Historically, every time a player gets more than that many touches in a season, his production declines the following year by 50 fewer carries and 1.2 fewer games. Nearly three out of every five of these backs are out of the league within four years."

Then there's the research by FootballOutsiders.com which suggests that rushing success is more dependent on the offensive line, but pass protection is more dependent on the quarterback. Put differently: teams can find productive running backs -- no matter when they were drafted (or if they were drafted at all) or how much they're making -- if a good offensive line is already in place. A great quarterback, however, can mask an o-line's shortcomings.

(See Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, for examples. They play two totally different styles -- Manning relies on his ability to assess defenses and quickly get the ball out of his hands; Roethlisberger takes hits, extends plays and waits for his receivers to come open.)

A great running back, in general, is wasted on a mediocre offensive line.

Chris Johnson's Holdout

So what does this mean for the Titans? General manager Mike Reinfeldt said last week that the organization is willing to make Johnson the league's highest-paid back. Johnson is looking for something more than that. This is certainly his prerogative. After all, he's rushed for more yards since 2008 than anybody in the league.

That also means Johnson logged a lot of carries, too. In three seasons, he's carried the ball 251, 358 and 316 times. Johnson's yards per carry have gone from 4.9 to 5.6 to 4.3 over that time. And whether you believe in the Curse of 370 or not (basically, the theory states that if a RB carries the ball roughly 370 times or more in the regular season he will usually suffer a major injury or drop in productivity the following season), there's no disputing that Johnson wasn't nearly as effective in 2010 as he was in 2009.

It's not altogether surprising that Johnson wasn't able to duplicate his 2009 numbers (2,006 rushing yards, 14 TDs, 503 receiving yards), but he wasn't even close. He finished with 1,364 rushing yards, his yards-per-carry dropped by 1.3 to 4.3, and he had 258 fewer receiving yards.

More than that: even with his jaw-dropping performance in '09, the Titans won eight games and missed the playoffs. In 2010, they won just six times.

We could blame that on the precarious quarterback situation, but that's our point.

Here's what FootballOutsiders.com president and ESPN.com columnist Aaron Schatz told CBSSports.com about Johnson's demands for a substantial pay bump. "When was the last time a team with a big-name, big-money back went to the Super Bowl, or even had the best regular-season record in the league? I suppose the 2009 Vikings came close. Otherwise, do you have to go back to the 2005 Seahawks? The best offenses in the modern NFL simply aren't built around a single running back."

Ah yes, the 2005 Seahawks. Here's what we wrote earlier this summer about Shaun Alexander: 

"The Seahawks re-signed Alexander to an eight-year, $62 million deal in 2006, six years into his career. At the time, it was the largest contract ever signed by a running back. Alexander, who had 370 carries for 1,880 yards (27 TDs) in '05, managed just 896 yards on 252 carries (7 TDs) in '06. He gained 716 yards a year later, and by 2008 he was out of the league." 

Johnson does have supporters, however. CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel wrote last week that paying him is the right thing to do.

And Jerome Bettis, one of the most bruising running backs in the modern era, also thinks the Titans have to pony up for Johnson.

"You've got to have a feature [back] because what happens is that when you have that one guy, he becomes a threat all over the field and the defense has to respond to him a lot differently," Bettis told CBSSports.com last week. "I think that's where the difference comes in in terms of a feature back."

But Bettis thinks Johnson's worth to the Titans transcends what he's able to do on a football field.

"The problem is, if you lose [Johnson], now what do you have? You gotta have two things," Bettis continued. "In the absence of a quality football team, you've got to have a superstar for people to come see. If you don't have the quarterback, you better have the running back. If you don't have a quarterback and you don't have a running back then you don't have fans in the seats.

"You can load your team up with players, but who's going to come watch them? Because the NFL is run by superstars … and when you don't have that therein lies the problem. So [Johnson] is not only worth money ... just necessarily (for what he does) on the field, but off the field as well because you don't have the quarterback to position as your franchise guy."

And this is the dilemma facing the Titans. Do they pay Johnson because of not only what he means to the team but to the surrounding area and fan base? Or does the organization try to put butts in seats by using that large chunk of change to shore up other positions?

This reminds us of something Schatz wrote as part of his "Football Outsiders Basics" series: "By and large, a team built on depth is better than a team built on stars and scrubs. … Every team will suffer injuries; the only question is how many. The game is too fast and the players too strong to build a team based around the idea that 'if we can avoid all injuries this year, we'll win.'"

If you're still not convinced, how about this (from something we wrote earlier this month): "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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Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 10:13 am
 

Chris Johnson not likely to show up any time soon

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Apparently, Titans RB Chris Johnson doesn’t just want top-tier running back money in order to end his holdout from Tennessee camp. He wants top-tier NFL player money. That’s the word from ESPN.com, which reports that there are no signs the Johnson-Titans impasse will end anytime soon.

Johnson's Contract Journey
Although the Titans have stated they’re willing to make Johnson the highest-paid RB in the league -- if you were looking for comparisons, Adrian Peterson will make $10.7 million this year, and the Panthers gave DeAngelo Williams $21 million guaranteed this offseason -- they actually haven’t made a formal offer to Johnson’s agent.

Meanwhile, Johnson, whose base salary for 2011 is $800,000, says he wants $30 million guaranteed for his next contract, and he’s willing to lose a year of accrued free agency to do it. It should be noted that Tennessee gave Johnson a raise to end his holdout last year, so when the Titans say they won’t negotiate with Johnson if he’s not in camp, it’s questionable whether they mean it.

Especially since we all know how important Johnson is to their cause.

Otherwise, the Titans will feature Javon Ringer, who hurt himself in Tennessee’s first preseason game and missed Monday's practice, as their starting RB. Which might not be a terrible thing, because it seems like the coaching staff and players are impressed at Ringer’s talent (even if the awesomeness of Johnson has blocked most everybody else from seeing it).

But Tennessee also doesn’t know exactly what it’s getting if the Titans need to get him 25 carries a game. With Johnson, they do.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 5:03 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.05.11: Somebody wants Haynesworth



Posted by Ryan Wilson
  • Michael Clayton, the Bucs first-round pick in 2004, says his football career isn't over. In the last two seasons he caught 18 passes for 249 yards. After spending the first six years of his career in Tampa Bay, Clayton played with the Giants in 2010.
  • When Plaxico Burress was released from prison last month, the Eagles were considered one of the teams most likely to sign him. Now that the new-freedom smell has worn off, it sounds as if Burress is near the bottom of Philly's offseason to-do list.
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Posted on: June 25, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.25.11: A farewell to Nick Charles



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • A fond farewell to Nick Charles, the first sports anchor at CNN who died today at the age of 64 from bladder cancer. Even at the end of his life, he was most inspirational. 
  • CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman has four scenarios for when the lockout might end.
  • CBSSports.com’s own Andy Benoit, writing for the NY Times, gives his top-10 list of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Peterson apologies in advance for his absence

A. Peterson won't attend his own camp this week (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you spent $199 on a football camp bearing Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s name and you expected Peterson to be there to help run the camp, would you be upset if Peterson actually wasn’t there?

I guess we’ll see, because Peterson won’t be attending his camp in Oklahoma this week.

But, hey, Peterson says he’s sorry about that.

"I want to apologize to all the fans about the confusion regarding the camp in Norman," Peterson said in a statement issued to the Associated Press through his agent (the Tulsa World). "I hosted camps in Palestine and Tyler, Texas, last week that went great. Due to ProCamps misunderstanding of my schedule, I was never able to host this year's Norman camp on their scheduled dates, but look forward to being back in 2012."

Originally, though, the problem wasn’t because the organization running the camp misunderstood Peterson’s schedule. Originally, it was because Peterson chose to be on TV rather than in Norman for the camp.

ProCamps had said the date of the camp clashed with Peterson taping an NFL Network special, but Wednesday, the NFL Network said Peterson wouldn’t actually be in studio until July 3, meaning there was no conflict with the camp. Then, ProCamps changed its story.

"ProCamps Worldwide would like to correct its previous statement regarding this week's Adrian Peterson Camp in Norman, Oklahoma, as well as take full responsibility for the scheduling mishap with this event,” the organization said in a statement. "We erroneously stated that Adrian's inability to attend the camp results from his involvement with the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011.”

So, ProCamps just didn’t misunderstand Peterson’s schedule; it misunderstood the reason for misunderstanding the schedule.

But what about the campers whose parents, it turns out, paid a bunch of money NOT to practice with Peterson? What happens to them?

Instead of Peterson, they’ll get to learn from former Oklahoma players Jason White, Mark Clayton and DeMarco Murray. Plus, ProCamps will refund that money if the campers decide not to go, and if they do show up, they’ll get $70 worth of gifts.

And think of it this way: If Peterson helped run the camp, the kids might not get to learn from a Heisman Trophy winner. With White in attendance, they will. So, in some respects, this is actually fantastic news.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 5:16 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.22.11: BW3 giving fans lockout wings

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Buffalo Wild Wings is offering up what I like to call "lockout wings." Or, what you might call "free wings if the lockout ends before July 20." (Which, coincidentally, is what BW3's is calling them.) To be eligible for six free wings in the event of the lockout ending, cruise on over to their Facebook page and like their petition to end the lockout. If the lockout ends before July 20, everyone who does so will get some free grub. The fascinating thing here, for me, isn't that I might get six wings. It's how much freaking money places like BW3 stand to lose come September if there's no football on for fans to come in and watch. So, yeah, it's probably worth whatever they have to give up in Jamaican Jerk.


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