Chris Johnson is holding out for top money with the Tennessee Titans. He doesn’t want to be the highest paid player on his team. He doesn’t just want to be the highest paid player at his position. He quite simply wants to be amongst the highest paid players in the league.
Quit dreaming, CJ, because that just isn’t going to happen.
Yes, Johnson is perhaps one of the two or three best running backs in the game today. He is a game changer, and can break one each and every time he touches the ball. He really is that damn good.
But he is still just a running back, in a quarterback league where running backs are a dime a dozen. That is not to take away from him in any way at all, but running backs are generally not amongst the highest paid players in the NFL for all of those reasons. Johnson will not be the exception to the rule, especially considering the new rules in place for player salaries.
Johnson has been perhaps the most explosive and impressive back over the past three years. But he is seeking at least $10 million per season with over $30 million guaranteed. As of now, the team and Johnson are nowhere near reaching an agreement. The team has yet to make an offer, and holds firm on the fact that they will not do so until Johnson shows up at Titans’ camp. Johnson insists that he will not show up without a new contract much more to his liking.
The entire situation is putting new head coach Mike Munchak in an unenviable position. He knows that Johnson doesn’t really need to learn an entirely new playbook, but he would like him in there learning the system with some of his new teammates, including quarterback Matt Hasslebeck.
Unfortunately for Johnson, Hasslebeck, Munchak and the Titans, this holdout has all the makings of a long process. Johnson is only slated to earn a little more than $1 million this season instead of the originally scheduled $850,000. Tennessee made a few revisions to his deal to allow the slight increase in pay. Still, it is a far cry from the $10 million annually that he is seeking. It is also a far cry from deals that Adrian Peterson signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Steven Jackson signed with the St. Louis Rams and the one that Denagelo Williams just recently signed with the Carolina Panthers.
Settle in folks, because this could be a long, messy ride.