Ever since signing running back Chris Johnson to a lucrative contract extension, the Tennessee Titans have gotten little to no return on their big investment. Following last season’s lengthy holdout that stymied his play, Johnson has yet been able to turn things back around to start the 2012 NFL season.
With that being said, despite the fact that Johnson has a huge contract with the Titans, could this be the last season we see him in a Titans’ uniform?
Someone who can only muster about a yard per carry is hardly worthy of being one of the highest paid players at his position. Johnson has gained 21 yards on 19 carries. That is not exactly the type of production that Tennessee was hoping for after paying him roughly $10 million per season.
So what once appeared to be a deal that would keep Johnson with the Titans throughout the majority of his career could now turn into a two year deal.
Granted, it could still go down as a two year deal where entirely too much money was awarded to a player who is a shell of his former self on the field.
The bottom line is that Johnson does still have 14 games to turn around both his and the Titans season. A bad start does not always lead to a disastrous season in general. But it is the fact that Johnson was a huge disappointment last season as well.
If he can rush for over 1,000 yards and help the Titans actually win a few games, then we could be singing a different tune as this season progresses, as well as during the following offseason. Johnson is the one who could make all of this talk moot with a strong performance going forward.
But what if he cannot? What if he just continues to go out and blame his teammates and his offensive line for his struggles? What if Johnson is unable to ever look like the player who once earned the moniker CJ2K for his 2,000 rushing yard season in 2009? What if he never rebounds?
Tennessee would certainly be faced with a difficult decision.
According to a source familiar with Johnson’s contract with the Titans, the struggling running back has a base salary of $10 million for the 2013 NFL season. Of the $10 million, $9 million of that becomes guaranteed if Johnson is still on the Titans’ roster on the fifth day of the 2013 waiver period. That period will start after the Super Bowl.
If Johnson cannot get it going on the ground in 2012, there is no guarantee that he will be on the Titans in 2013.