Titans running back Chris Johnson is one of the best players in the NFL, and he can’t stand the fact that he isn’t paid like one of the best players in the NFL.
“I can’t play for $550,000,” Johnson told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, referring to what he’s scheduled to make this season. “The money that I am playing for, I am getting paid less than the [other] starting 11 [players on the Titans' offense] and I’m one of the lowest paid starting running backs in the league.”
Johnson, who has three more years on the five-year, $12 million deal he signed after the Titans drafted him in 2008, said he’ll hold out of training camp if he has to.
“Right now, I am not sure what is going to happen,” Johnson said. “I just hope they pay me, but I don’t know.”
The Titans don’t seem inclined to give Johnson a new deal, noting that they’ve still got Johnson locked up for three more years, and that the “30 percent rule” would make it tough for them to dramatically increase Johnson’s salary. And the Titans have a lot of leverage if Johnson holds out, because if Johnson doesn’t report within 30 days of the start of the regular season, he could lose a year of credit toward free agency.
The truth is, if the Titans refuse to play ball with Johnson, he ultimately will play for $550,000. And if he gets fined for holding out, he’ll play for even less than that.