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.