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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