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Reinfeldt’s ploy could make things worse between Titans, Johnson

Mike Reinfeldt AP

With former Titans great Eddie George, a prime example of a Tennessee tailback being used until the wheels came off, calling on the team to take care of the most dynamic running back in the game today, G.M. Mike Reinfeldt made a mistake.  Actually, he made two.

First, he made the dispute with Chris Johnson public.  Second, Reinfeldt confused the issues by vowing to make Johnson the highest-paid running back in the game.

This isn’t about Johnson becoming the highest-paid running back in the game.  This is about Johnson being paid like an elite player whose impact crosses positional lines.

That’s not to say Johnson should get Manning-Brady money.  But Johnson isn’t a normal running back.  He has averaged five yards per carry through three seasons, and he already has racked up nearly 4,600 career rushing yards.

So if an aging quarterback like Matt Hasselbeck is worth roughly $9 million this year, what’s Johnson worth?

It’s a no-brainer that Johnson should get more money than any other running back.  That’s not the question.  The question is how much more.

And the problem is that Johnson possibly has become even more upset in light of Reinfeldt’s decision to try to persuade the public that the Titans are doing the right thing by supposedly “offering” to pay Johnson more than any other running back in the league.

In the end, it may take a few regular-season games without Johnson for the Titans to realize how much they need him.  By then, of course, if could be too late for the Titans to make much of a difference in a potentially wide-open AFC South.

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40 Responses to “Reinfeldt’s ploy could make things worse between Titans, Johnson”
  1. bleedblue18 says: Aug 11, 2011 11:51 PM

    “could be too late for the Titans to make much of a difference in a potentially wide-open AFC South.”

    Haha, only if Peyton Manning is not playing this season. Potentially is the key word.

  2. deadeye says: Aug 11, 2011 11:54 PM

    Reinfeldt blew this situation, no doubt about it. The only viable option left is to trade CJ to Miami.

  3. cheezysmegma says: Aug 11, 2011 11:57 PM

    Chris Johnson signed a contract that paid him more than most persons earn in their lifetime. He wants more money, and he has shown potential that could justify the outlay. The simple fact is that Mr. Johnson has a losing hand here. Not many RBs stand the test of time, being productive long-term. If he sits out and then loses another year toward free agency, his physical/talent value will rapidly diminish. He will also brand himself as an uncooperative headcase, scaring off even more teams. The Titans won’t sell out their games this season with or without him. Think Larry Johnson, but much worse! Time to get back to work!

  4. xstaticonradio says: Aug 11, 2011 11:57 PM

    Or it couldn’t.

  5. oaklegend says: Aug 11, 2011 11:58 PM

    My guess is that Chris Johnson was happy as a clam to hear Reinfeldt promising to make him the highest paid RB in the league. Now, if he writes the check this story will fizzle fast.

  6. TurdSandwich says: Aug 12, 2011 12:05 AM

    And PFT using terms like ‘ploy’ certainly exacerbates things.

  7. andyreidisfat says: Aug 12, 2011 12:12 AM

    I still don’t remember hearing this guy say he offered Johnson a contract. In fact i heard him say when Johnson comes to camp they want to make him the highest paid running back in the NFL.

    Somehow in your mind that makes him the bad guy …… Dynamite reporting !

  8. scudbot says: Aug 12, 2011 12:18 AM

    Tennessee has wasted a lot of money on players who didn’t pan out. Now they’re playing games with one who did. Think it’s in the best interest of the team and the fans to d*ck around like this and keep him at $560k? Pay the man or trade him. Who’s getting in the way, the crackpot owner?

  9. thephantomstranger says: Aug 12, 2011 12:25 AM

    First, it’s far from a no-brainer that Johnson should be the highest paid running back. Adrian Peterson is also up for a contract extension and I certainly think he should be in the conversation of who should be the highest paid running back.

    Second, you can’t ignore his position when determining his worth. He’s a great player who makes a big impact, but running backs tend to have the shortest careers and they are relatively easy to replace when compared to positions like quarterback, defensive end, left tackle, or cornerback.

  10. corysowa says: Aug 12, 2011 12:33 AM

    I don’t see this going into the season, it will be over soon and you won’t have anything else to bash the Titans about. Well okay, one less thing at least.

  11. bigshotbob7 says: Aug 12, 2011 12:34 AM

    I hope he sits out as long as it takes. Last year they conned him with some BS “commitment” and once again they’re backing off.

  12. NFLJunkie says: Aug 12, 2011 12:35 AM

    Stir the pot all you want. I’m not buying it.

    I’m on CJ’s side that he deserves a new deal, deserves to be paid like the best at his position, which would be no less than $7-8M a year and a minimum of $20-25M guaranteed. MINIMUM. Chances are, it will be better than that.

    They’ve basically just told him that’s the baseline. If that’s not enough to get him into camp so his agent and Reinfeldt can Really get down to business, then screw it. I’m not going to lose any sleep worrying about poor, underpaid Chris Johnson anymore.

  13. matrim1969 says: Aug 12, 2011 12:40 AM

    Adrian Peterson is just waiting for his holdout to end before negotiating a new contract..

  14. indyeagle says: Aug 12, 2011 12:45 AM

    You’re as nutty as Chris Johnson if you think ANY RB deserves QB money. Those guys have a very limited shelf life and it’s been proven over the years that you don’t need an elite back to win it all. (see: Indy, NE, GB, NO, Pitt)

    I’d trade him before I’d pay him anywhere near QB money. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great and I’d give him top dollar for a RB, but not a dime more.

  15. piemasteruk says: Aug 12, 2011 12:46 AM

    I think you have slightly lost the plot with this article.

    It’s difficult to start comparing a great running back with a mediocre QB and saying which is worth more. As you have said yourself many times, quarterback is the most important position on the field and a good veteran one can provide intangiable benefits beyond what you see in their stat line.

    Running Backs on the other hand are difficult to assess and their play can deviate wildly from one year to the next, due to factors totally beyond their control. Remember 7 or 8 years ago, the Broncos used to draft a RB in the mid rounds every year who would look like a Superstar for a year then get traded to another team where he would suddenly look extremely ordinary. And I’m sure you’ll recall several players (Anthony Thomas for example) who had one monster season and never managed to reproduce it.

    Chris Johnson might be the best Running Back in the NFL, but even that isn’t certain. He was only the 4th highest in the NFL by rushing yards last year. And he is a workhorse back and there is no telling what durability issues he may have in a few years time. I certainly wouldn’t be giving him a massive 6 year contract and to be honest if some team comes along offering a blockbuster trade for him the Titans should give it serious consideration.

  16. prplpuzzetrz says: Aug 12, 2011 12:57 AM

    I would highly argue that he is better or should be paid more than Adrian Peterson, very good back , elite , but in this league , taking the poundings you do, I would prefer having AP for the long haul. CJ will start his decline while Peterson will only incline. IMO anyways!

  17. tominmilwaukee says: Aug 12, 2011 12:58 AM

    For fantasy football purposes only, i need this holdout extended until the regular season so my opponents will be scared to draft CJ in rounds 1 and 2…… Then i can scoop him up with the 2nd pick of the 3rd round..

    I have faith in both parties to accomplish OUR goals..

  18. fleamarkethustler says: Aug 12, 2011 1:02 AM

    Bunk…… Johnson stands a better chance of getting hurt at any time than Brady, Manning, or any 200+lb. running back. It’s a big risk to give him the kind of guaranteed money he wants. 10 mil. a year with incentives, no problem, but 30 mil. up front while he has two years left on a rookie deal?

  19. jethro007 says: Aug 12, 2011 1:22 AM

    PFT, it’s good you aren’t a NFL team owner, your team would be broke.

  20. nflfan877 says: Aug 12, 2011 1:30 AM

    They need to have him. I really think Hasselbeck-CJ-Britt give the Titans to contend in the division.

  21. unfkwthabl says: Aug 12, 2011 1:54 AM

    last year Cj had 1364 at 4.3 YPC

    J Charles 1467 at 6.4 YPC

    charles has 2944 yards in his careen at 6.0 YPC.. 6 yards per carry for his ASCENDING career

    I am soooo glad the chiefs has a great PERSON on the field like charles.

    He is a running back… he should be paid what running backs are worth…

    He will never be involved in a game when they are down 6 point under 1 minute with 80 yards to go… thats when guys like brees, manning, rivers, rodgers and brady make their money.

    CJ has been nothing but average except for 1 good season

  22. damnyoulinelliot says: Aug 12, 2011 2:45 AM

    Don’t get me wrong. Chris Johnson is talented, and I know he wants a new contract because he wants some insurance to stay healthy since he’s practically the workhorse on offense. But he needs to man up, honor his current contract and get back to football. This doesn’t help the players’ image at all in trying to show that they “just want to play”. Get over it, CJ, and go back to work.

  23. jimmedk says: Aug 12, 2011 3:08 AM

    I really don’t get the facination with CJ and the claim that he should be the best paid running back in the league. Lets put this in perspective.
    Last season Jamaal Charles outplayed CJ and basicaly every other running back in the league with great playmaking ability and an insane ypc. He didn’t have that many touchdowns as Thomas Jones took care of some of those.

    Charles was paid:
    5 years, $32.5 million with $13 million guaranteed

    Don’t tell me that CJ isworth twice that because he simply isn’t, not by a long shot.

  24. maumontav5 says: Aug 12, 2011 3:09 AM

    In my opinion this is the most insightful post you’ve put together since the lockout was lifted. Good stuff

  25. Marv says: Aug 12, 2011 4:11 AM

    That’s not so much of a no brainer! There is no way he should make MORE than All Day!

  26. brettsmyboi says: Aug 12, 2011 4:33 AM

    I’ll take Adrian Peterson.

  27. 7to10for6allday says: Aug 12, 2011 6:35 AM

    The GM is an idiot, pay him and stop playing this stupid game of you have to show up first. You knew last year you needed to sign him. Instead you spend 9 million on a washed up QB. All that cap space wasted…. Idiot!

  28. Tribe&Browns&Cavs says: Aug 12, 2011 7:12 AM

    Despite Eddie George’s talk of Johnson having all the leverage, I really think the Titans could still be argued to have the upperhand but for the wrong reason: they’re not equipped to win with or without him.

    Even in the AFC South I don’t think they’re serious contenders. So why pay Johnson more to be slightly less mediocre?

    (Yes, there’s the ticket and jersey sales argument, but will it balance out paying Johnson double-digit millions compared to $900,000 (minus 30k a day in fines)?)

    I think the Titans are trying to not reward the holdout (kind of like not giving your kid ice cream when he’s throwing a tantrum) and I respect that. Johnson deserves to get paid and deserves to be paid top RB dollars, but he should respect the contract he signed in the process.

  29. stoutfiles says: Aug 12, 2011 7:12 AM

    The Titans have never made the playoffs with Johnson, sobI fail to see his value. Go ahead, cripple your team by giving him a huge contract only to have him get hurt.

    I’d let him sit this year. If he wants to sit next year, then I’d start shopping him around for draft picks.

  30. chc4 says: Aug 12, 2011 7:29 AM

    This isn’t about Johnson becoming the highest-paid running back in the game. This is about Johnson being paid like an elite player whose impact crosses positional lines.
    _________________________________
    Uh what? Pretty sure if the Titans do the first thing then the second is a given. I have no problem with what the GM did as long as he follows through when CJ shows up. I don’t see how anyone could.

  31. chefodin says: Aug 12, 2011 7:40 AM

    Not so fast. Adrian Peterson may disagree with your “no-brainer” comment on Johnson getting the most money.

  32. alonestartexan says: Aug 12, 2011 7:40 AM

    Writers today making mountains our of molehills…

    You act like CJ has some kind of great leverage.

    If the Titans don’t pay him and he doesn’t show up, He’ll sit for the rest of his life unless he finally shows up or they cut him.

    At roughly $1M against the cap, Don’t count on them cutting him.

    Also, Keep in mind.. He has 2 years left on his contract so if he plays hardball until the end, He could lose atleast 2-3 years of playing time and I suppose that’s a bad thing for him since the life of an NFL RB is so short..

  33. NFLJunkie says: Aug 12, 2011 8:24 AM

    stoutfiles says:
    Aug 12, 2011 7:12 AM
    The Titans have never made the playoffs with Johnson, sobI fail to see his value.

    Oh yes, they have. Ask Ravens fans (or Rex Ryan) how relieved they are that some Ravens defenders gave Johnson’s ankle a little extra attention at the bottom of the pile to knock him out of the divisional game in the first half. Given Johnson had already gashed them for 100 total yards and a TD to

    If all you needed was a great RB then the Rams should have a couple more rings by now. But can’t see the value? Please.

  34. vadog says: Aug 12, 2011 8:41 AM

    As good as Chris Johnson is…and as valuable as he is to the Titans…Adrian Peterson is better and more valuable!!
    It’s past time for the Vikings to lock Peterson into a long-term contract with significant $$ guaranteed!

  35. FinFan68 says: Aug 12, 2011 9:13 AM

    Why not show up and let the business get handled by the businessmen? He wants top dollar and the status of being the highest paid RB in the league. That is different from being the best RB in the league but that fact is lost on him.

    CJ’s leverage is not as big as some people seem to think it is. RBs are not as valuable as they used to be. How many playoff wins has “the league’s best RB” helped his team get? He is not worth a “history” deal even though he is one of the better RBs. There are other RBs that have put up similar #s. There will be other guys capable of carrying the load.

    If he doesn’t want to show up, the Titans should let him sit and move on this year. Do not reward his poor behavior/attitude problem. Nobody really believes the Titans are a strong team right now with or without CJ. They could let him sit out and rack up those $30K per day fines (which he would owe the Titans, not the NFL). After the season, they should put him on the trade blocks. CJ would have to pay the Titans a bunch of that money he wants to get. That would hurt a bit more if he happened to get traded to a CA team where they actually have a stiff state income tax.

    He is worth a better deal; not a mega deal for high dollar QB money.

  36. svcfilmguy says: Aug 12, 2011 9:26 AM

    Reinfeldt has said he will negotiate with Johnson…but ONLY if he shows up at camp. What’s the problem there. Show up, feign an injury, get your cash, and move on. CJ can continue to play the disrespect card all he wants, but the Titans have taken the upper hand in the PR game. It doesn’t get much better than offering to make you the highest paid RB in the NFL.

    Let’s also consider that Johnson has shot himself in the foot. All he had to do was show up to camp to assure another year towards free agency. He didn’t. Now, if he continues to pout, the Titans can just hold onto him for another year until they either trade him or let him retire. He has no leverage here. Zero.

    Finally, consider the benefit of giving a RB top money. The starting RBs of recent Super Bowl champions: James Starks, Pierre Thomas, Willie Parker, Brandon Jacobs, Joseph Addai, Willie Parker (again). See any big-name players or guys worth a massive payday? I certainly don’t. However, look at the QBs: Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning. Big money, big name QBs.

    So why, exactly, should you shell out 10s of millions in guaranteed money to RBs?

  37. phillyphever says: Aug 12, 2011 11:32 AM

    I’m with the Titans on this. Anyone seen Larry Johnson after he signed his big deal? CJ has no leverage here.

  38. alonestartexan says: Aug 12, 2011 11:40 AM

    svcfilmguy,

    They don’t even want him to practice, They just want him to show up and talk with coaches/learn the playbook.

    They said he doesn’t have to practice until they reach a deal if he doesn’t want to.

  39. qdog112 says: Aug 12, 2011 12:54 PM

    Lies , lies and more lies. Pay the man or continue on the road to becoming Cincinnati. The problem with these owner types is that they think they’re smarter than everyone else.

    How do you pay Hasselbeck 9$ million and insult a guy who’s given you 5-6K yards total offense over the years?

  40. alonestartexan says: Aug 12, 2011 2:30 PM

    Because Hasselbeck was a free agent and Chris Johnson still has 2 years left on his contract…

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