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Teams wonder whether Chris Johnson will be a free agent

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

As teams prepare their list of potential free agents in 2012, there’s a fairly big name that some currently are putting in the “maybe” category.

Per a league source, several teams believe that the Titans could release running back Chris Johnson before the fifth day of the 2012 league year, at which time his base salary of $8 million becomes fully guaranteed.

Johnson’s $8 million compensation for next year is guaranteed for injury only.  At the time he signed the new deal, it was assumed that he’d eventually get the money.  Now, there’s growing speculation that the Titans won’t allow the salary to become guaranteed unless his on-field play improves significantly.

Actually, there’s a good chance that the number will be $7.7 million, since under the contract Johnson’s salary will drop by $300,000 if he doesn’t rush for 1,000 yards in 2011.  Through seven games, he’s on pace for 690 yards.

Another $9 million of Johnson’s guaranteed money is guaranteed only for injury now, and won’t become fully guaranteed until the fifth day of the 2013 league year.  As a result, the Titans can avoid a full $17 million of Johnson’s $30 million in guaranteed money if they cut him before March 2012.

So if Johnson doesn’t step it up, he could be stepping out of Nashville.

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62 Responses to “Teams wonder whether Chris Johnson will be a free agent”
  1. richm2256 says: Nov 6, 2011 8:49 AM

    ClearlyJohnson attended the Jamarcus Russell School of Football;

    negotiate a big fat contract, then do nothing ever again on a football field.

  2. mvpolamalu says: Nov 6, 2011 8:50 AM

    If I told you before the season started that would be talks of Chris Johnson being released you would say ________

  3. paramattic says: Nov 6, 2011 8:55 AM

    If he’s cut, say hello to the next overpaid Redskin.

  4. radtrigger says: Nov 6, 2011 8:57 AM

    Cut CJ0.5K before it’s too late. He’s a small back anyways. No doubt he’ll be worn out sooner or alter even if he manages to be productive again this year.

  5. 1captain1 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:00 AM

    Paying someone extra does not increase performance or productivity.

    NO company of any type should give raises for people doing the SAME job they did last year.

    Workers are a dime a dozen!

  6. boilerup1869 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:01 AM

    This has to be one of the most shocking individual player situations of the year. I mean, this guy was as good as gold the past two years. What happened this off-season?

  7. tennesseeoilers says: Nov 6, 2011 9:01 AM

    In an interview in yesterday’s The Tennessean, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said that it’s unprecedented for a star running back to hit a wall this early in his career. He speculated that Johnson is essentially sabotaging the Titans out of bitterness about how the contract talks went down.

  8. tampajoey says: Nov 6, 2011 9:03 AM

    Matt Forte would like to thank Chris Johnson and Deangelo Williams for making his life hell.

  9. mrbigass says: Nov 6, 2011 9:05 AM

    He should be prosecuted for fraud…….or for giving dentists PTSD…….or for his massacre of the English language.

    Take your pick!

  10. das14 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:07 AM

    It’s a no brainer. I’d cut him without thinking twice about it. Good Luck getting another contract.

  11. flavordave says: Nov 6, 2011 9:09 AM

    What a dissapointment hes become. 2 years ago he was the most exciting player in the league. Now hes being replaced by javon ringer. Have some dignity man.

  12. phillyphever says: Nov 6, 2011 9:12 AM

    They should have traded him while they had the chance.

  13. jerseyshoregiant says: Nov 6, 2011 9:13 AM

    @richm2256

    The biggest difference between Johnson and Russell is, Johnson actually did something on the field to earn this contract while Russell did not!

  14. isu1648 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:18 AM

    Weird, adrian peterson signed just as big of a contract, and he’s even a year older in this league, and he seems to be doing just fine.

  15. corchamp says: Nov 6, 2011 9:20 AM

    Those gold teeth have turned to green.

  16. causeisaid says: Nov 6, 2011 9:21 AM

    @tampajoey Ray Rice thanks them as well

  17. thegrey7 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:27 AM

    So… I guess guaranteed doesn’t really mean guaranteed?

  18. gb4mn0 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:32 AM

    tennesseeoilers says:
    Nov 6, 2011 9:01 AM
    In an interview in yesterday’s The Tennessean, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said that it’s unprecedented for a star running back to hit a wall this early in his career. He speculated that Johnson is essentially sabotaging the Titans out of bitterness about how the contract talks went down.

    —————————–

    Faulk’s comments don’t make sense, but then they seldom do. If the details of CJ’s contract are as this report states, then wouldn’t it be counterproductive for CJ to be “sabotaging the Titans?” Besides, TN is 4-3 with a realistic chance at the playoffs.

    Faulk’s history of running of at the mouth parallels his RB career, HOF. Maybe there’s something Freudian here.

  19. samoanjungle says: Nov 6, 2011 9:35 AM

    I just hope he doesn’t decide to start earning that money today

  20. das14 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:38 AM

    Weird, adrian peterson signed just as big of a contract, and he’s even a year older in this league, and he seems to be doing just fine.

    ————-
    Adrian has heart. Kristen is a poser.

  21. greenpacker says: Nov 6, 2011 9:40 AM

    they should trade cj2k to my packers for randall cobb.

  22. greenpacker says: Nov 6, 2011 9:41 AM

    javon “the” ringer

  23. thridandlong says: Nov 6, 2011 9:46 AM

    If you think Johnson is bad, wait until you see the productivity of Matt Forte of the Bears decline if he should get a lucrative contract extension.

    Forte will make Albert Haynesworth look like Carl Lewis ducking out avoiding picking up the check at Old Country Buffet !

  24. thejuddstir says: Nov 6, 2011 9:47 AM

    Scat-backs have always been cute to watch, they have their productive moments but everything is dictated by their ability to gain yards in open space, not run between the tackles. I suspect CJzero knew this and thus he played hardball for this contract. Shanny is a great back but the majority of his production comes from sweeps, off tackle, screens and short passes. It is backs like Forte, both Jacksons, A. Peterson etc. that are dangerous no matter where they run. ….I remember laughing so hard a couple of years ago when CJzero tried to claim that he was a better RB than A. Peterson. And for CJ’s info, his new “contract” is dwarfed by Peterson’s.

  25. feiry24 says: Nov 6, 2011 9:47 AM

    People shouldn’t compare Chris Johnson to Deangelo Williams. Williams gets 9 carries a game and isn’t doing that great due to the coaches not giving him the ball. Johnson had a shot at the worst running defense in the league, got plenty of carries, and came up with absolutely nothing. Perhaps down the road we’ll hear he had some sort of injury, but for now, I would say Chris Johnson’s mind isn’t on football. He’s signed up with young money and and even has his own clothing line. He got a big contract to shore up his finances, as far as he’s concerned, he’s set. He doesn’t put in ANY ounce of extra effort out there.

  26. marshmont says: Nov 6, 2011 9:48 AM

    johnson is very immature. an emotional midget. just like v.young.

  27. jungwa says: Nov 6, 2011 9:48 AM

    At least he got paid before he started to suck. Hillis has mucg to learn.

  28. mrbigass says: Nov 6, 2011 9:48 AM

    CJ even commented that he felt the new contract was for his past work and had nothing to do with his future performance.

    He has pulled the ultimate con job on the Tacks……

  29. bigtimetexanfan says: Nov 6, 2011 9:56 AM

    @ gb4mno

    The Titans have a realistic chance of making the playoffs.

    Thanks I really needed a good laugh this morning.

  30. jeremycrowhurst says: Nov 6, 2011 10:00 AM

    Yards in September and October are earned in April through August. That’s when CJ0K packed it in. The only football he was preparing for was by reliving his glory year on Madden 09.

    You see it all the time. When they’re whining in public, they’re not working out in private. He sabotaged his career this summer, and no amount of effort can fix that now. It’s just too late.

  31. waggs12 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:01 AM

    Chris who?

  32. eaglessuperfan says: Nov 6, 2011 10:04 AM

    Wine Wine Wine …… Flameout. This is becoming the norm for running backs anymore.

  33. nflfuturist says: Nov 6, 2011 10:07 AM

    Johnson wants out of Tennessee. Let’s stop beating around the bush here people. Watch the film, completely uninspired efforts. Question is, as the PFT blog points out, where would the next landing spot be? *cough* cowboys/redskins/denver *cough*

    On the flip side, what Forte is doing in Chicago needs to be talked about more. Stop wasting ink an ungreatful Johnson and start the pro-Matt Forte media blitz. The dude is performing and is a solid character guy.

  34. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Nov 6, 2011 10:07 AM

    Every running back that “outperforms” his contract can thank CJ for sabotaging any leverage he might have had. It is now etched in stone: running backs are interchageable and you need not pay huge $$$ to secure a decent one. Sorry Matt Forte, that’s just how it is!

  35. suhisabeast90 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:12 AM

    Don’t forget Peyton Hillis……….the one year wonder

  36. berniemadoffsides says: Nov 6, 2011 10:17 AM

    If I’m the GM of any NFL team, I’m never paying another player that’s holding out as long as I live. This is the potential result – this is why you don’t pay a malcontent.

  37. vmannj says: Nov 6, 2011 10:23 AM

    Through 7 games, he’s on pace for 690 yards.
    ————————————————–

    Through 7 games, he should ALREADY HAVE 690 yards.

  38. wtfru2 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:27 AM

    It was all about…..Show me the money…..

  39. thefiesty1 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:29 AM

    CowBabies will have a replacement for Choice next year.

  40. pacificnw7722 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:32 AM

    “Now, there’s growing speculation that the Titans won’t allow the salary to become guaranteed unless his on-field play improves significantly.”

    Are you kidding me?

    We ALL know that’s not going to happen, this fool is done with the Titans.

  41. colt13 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:37 AM

    I am pleasantly surprised that the Titans will have an easier time getting out of this contract than I expected.

    Now build around Locker and Britt.

  42. 13whysoserious says: Nov 6, 2011 10:39 AM

    It’s a shift in the NFL. Teams look at player lifespan and value. Runningbacks have short shelf lives and therefore have limited value, monitarily speaking.

    He got paid because the Titans are talent starved. Matt Forte, Fred Jackson and any other free agent RB in the years to come will be sadly disappointed. Regardless of the fans love, its a business and Chris Johnson ruined the business of RB for the foreseeable future.

    Its running back by commitee and systems over individual talent. Indy and the Pack had below average RB’s and won Superbowls.

    The beancounters notice.

  43. rubicon202 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:43 AM

    that’s what you call “strong arm” robbery, Wow!

  44. jessethegreat says: Nov 6, 2011 10:44 AM

    Chris Johnson = Albert Haynesworth without the stepping on Al Gurode’s head thing.

    The Titans made the mistake of giving him a multiple year contract. From this point forward, you will be seeing many more running backs getting the tag. It keeps that hunger in their bellys. Look at Forte this year. What would you rather have… a happy running back that just got his fat new contract, or a pissed off running mad running back?

  45. Nikhil Balakumar says: Nov 6, 2011 10:46 AM

    not gonna happen, he’ll get atleast another year to earn his contract

  46. marshmont says: Nov 6, 2011 10:48 AM

    hillis is part of the clueless group. no doubt.

  47. neer music says: Nov 6, 2011 10:51 AM

    i think he could make a decent backup for adrian peterson.

  48. cantonbound13 says: Nov 6, 2011 11:08 AM

    With the price of gold going up C.J. Better take good care of those teeth. He may not be seeing many more paydays.

  49. nomoreseasontix says: Nov 6, 2011 11:14 AM

    Who didn’t see this coming?
    Big payday followed by a few years of waiting to be called for a tryout….

    Will he be flabbergasted?

  50. discosucs2005 says: Nov 6, 2011 11:17 AM

    To go off what someone else said, paying people more in general does not make them more productive and can in fact decrease their productivity.

    And can we just assume he’s a Raider next year?

  51. z0inks says: Nov 6, 2011 11:31 AM

    Teams are wondering whether CJ will be a free agent this offseason.

    Meanwhile, Titans fans are wondering whether this might be the week where CJ finally breaks a tackle or beats a defender in a one-on-one situation.

    In years past, on any given play, the first defender had virtually no shot at taking CJ down. This year, it’s the second defender who has no shot….because CJ never makes it past the first guy.

  52. marshmont says: Nov 6, 2011 11:32 AM

    as a raven fan i’m happy to see ray rice a lot. he is a high caliber person. he is a team guy. says all the right things. a young team leader. i’m sure there are many players like him. ozzie gets it when drafting and aquiring players. he makes mistakes but not too many.

  53. xxwhodatxx says: Nov 6, 2011 12:17 PM

    Awesome, thats what u get for holding out punk!!!

  54. granadafan says: Nov 6, 2011 12:43 PM

    Matt Forte, LeShaun McCoy, Fred Jackson, and Arian Foster are going to want to punch Chrissie Johnson and Hillis in the head for ruining it for all other running backs.

  55. randomguy9999 says: Nov 6, 2011 1:02 PM

    after that Jamarcus move he should be a free agent this week…

    there’s no point in anyone falling for these jokers anymore…..

  56. stealaho says: Nov 6, 2011 8:35 PM

    Adrian Peterson signed a huge deal and he still runs just as hard as he ever has and leads the NFL in rushing.. it just comes down to what your priorities are…

  57. lilrob10201 says: Nov 6, 2011 10:09 PM

    I just hope the same thing don’t happen to Desean Jackson.But Desean doesent even need the ball in his hands do threaten a defense.

  58. chazatlas says: Nov 6, 2011 11:25 PM

    Johnson very well may have been a one hit wonder. Whether it was securing a big contract that made him lazy or being thin in the hips, he looks like he has lost his mojo.

  59. chazatlas says: Nov 6, 2011 11:27 PM

    I’d cut him quicker than Zoro.

  60. hboc01 says: Nov 7, 2011 2:39 AM

    I heard the Raiders are willing to trade a 1st Round pick in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for him.

  61. dracko19 says: Nov 7, 2011 8:29 AM

    My take: No one can explain this and make reasonable sense so far. He’s sabotaging his team intentionally?? C’mon man! Here’s what is REALLY going on….

    Chris Johnson has been playing hurt all year. He knew that coming into training camp and if he didn’t get his big $$$ before he reported, he’d never get it since he’s hurt. He’s not telling the staff what’s bugging him cuz if he did, they see this was a legacy injury and could possibly void his contract. He figures if he gets enough games in, he could then report it down the road when the history is much more fuzzy. So far, he’s pulling it off perfectly. Meanwhile, all his FF owners are ready to issue contracts on the guy. Crazy stuff!

  62. EJ says: Dec 28, 2011 1:25 PM

    Thats what happens when you run your mouth more than you run on the field. CJ is only a good back when he has a great line blocking for him. With the average line the Titans have, Johnson doesn’t get the gaping holes he needs to succeed. I don’t think the Titans have a plan set to replace him, so I would expect he will be getting his money.

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