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Titans will have a decision to make on Chris Johnson’s contract

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The massive contract the Titans gave Chris Johnson before last season has so far not looked like a wise investment. In less than two months, the Titans will have to decide whether to cut their losses.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted this morning that Johnson’s contract includes a provision that if he’s still on the roster on February 9, $9 million of his $10 million salary for 2013 will become guaranteed. In other words, the Titans have until five days after the Super Bowl to decide whether they want to commit a huge amount of money to Johnson, or to let him become an unrestricted free agent.

What’s so maddening about Johnson is how inconsistent he is. He’s had five different games this season in which he gained less than 50 yards while averaging less than 2.5 yards a carry. Which would suggest that it’s crazy to pay him $10 million next season. Except that he’s also had four different games this season in which he gained more than 125 yards and at least 5.5 yards a carry. When he’s on, he’s capable of being the best player on the field in any game he plays.

Overall, though, if you’re going to pay a player $625,000 a game, you’d rather not be paying him for a whole lot of games in which he’s the worst player on the field. And that’s what Johnson has been, several times, in the 29 games he’s played since signing his contract. Which means it may be tough for the Titans to justify continuing to pay him like a superstar.

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16 Responses to “Titans will have a decision to make on Chris Johnson’s contract”
  1. jakec4 says: Dec 16, 2012 12:01 PM

    He doesn’t seem like a guy who would be receptive to the idea of a pay cut either.

  2. boogymanoflamancha says: Dec 16, 2012 12:10 PM

    I think if they can’t restructure they’ll need to let him go. Tough to justify that much of your cap space for the inconsistent production.

  3. kattykathy says: Dec 16, 2012 12:11 PM

    Cut him. He has done nothing but steal a paycheck.

  4. turtlehut says: Dec 16, 2012 12:11 PM

    Tell CJ that his performance this year will affect next years money and he will play well. If he thinks he already has the cash in the bank he will take the games off.

  5. themanchine says: Dec 16, 2012 12:13 PM

    What decision? He’s gone.

  6. giantboy99 says: Dec 16, 2012 12:16 PM

    Bye bye Titans and hello Jets.

  7. dubblelznhell says: Dec 16, 2012 12:18 PM

    It’s not entirely his fault. That line in Tennessee has been average at best the past couple seasons. When they do their job, he had good games. He’s a product of the OLine. Look at Trent Richardson.

  8. flaccosyellowteeth says: Dec 16, 2012 12:18 PM

    Cut’em

  9. billyjsunday69 says: Dec 16, 2012 12:21 PM

    he wasn’t worth the massive extension in the first place.

  10. pastabelly says: Dec 16, 2012 12:21 PM

    They should try to renegotiate it to $6 million, which is still more than he’s worth.

  11. kindasporty says: Dec 16, 2012 12:24 PM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Lions uniform. That would put him in a position where the offense isn’t based around him, but just the threat of him breaking off a run would be important. I don’t know if this would be a realistic scenario, but given the declining salaries of running backs, I wouldn’t rule it out. But all it would take is two teams to start bidding for him and the Lions would quickly be priced out.

  12. offthelows says: Dec 16, 2012 12:32 PM

    It’s not that tough of a choice, you cut him. I think the assumption on that contract was his best years would be on the front end, because he’s a speed dependent RB. When he loses a step, as he has, he’s much less effective. There’s no question that he won’t get that step back, only if he’ll lose another step, and be completely worthless.

  13. genericcommenter says: Dec 16, 2012 4:40 PM

    Those stats sound like almost every Barry Sanders season except for the last 14 games of 1997.

  14. obie09 says: Dec 16, 2012 4:46 PM

    He’s averaging 4.7 YPC and is having his best year in the past 3 years. Our starting o-line has 4 players on the IR and a banged up Roos at LT.

    Since week 3, he’s averaging 100 YPG rushing at over 5 YPC.

    The Titans are already WAY under the cap and never spend the money, he’s the Titans marquee player and the only person that scares other teams. What a great way to help Locker develop next year by allowing other teams to put all of their focus on him instead.

    The Titans are not drafting a RB early next year, so who is going to replace him?

  15. obie09 says: Dec 16, 2012 7:47 PM

    By the way CJ is having a better year than Ray rice, Darren McFadden, and many other RB’s being paid similiar or more yet it seems like the media has such a huge anti-cj message. Why is that? He’s done way more in his career than both yet every time he plays well there’s no new topic, but every time he struggles it’s something negative. I will never understand.

  16. paychrisjohnson28 says: Dec 18, 2012 1:47 AM

    Tiitan’s Runningback Chris Johnson is having better years than DeAngelo James, Jonathon Stewart, Ray Rice and Darren McFadden all who got big contracts. Chris Johnson has 5 consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons, who else has as many ?
    #28 Chris Johnson has 6 runs of 80 yards or more in his NFL career an NFL record. Chris Johnson’s 6 runs of 80 yards or more is double any other player in NFL history = Ahman Green, Barry Sanders, O.J. Simpson and Hugh McElgheny each had three runs of 80 yards or more. Chris Johnson is one of the top 3 runningbacks in Oilers/Titans history next to Earl Campbell and Eddie George.
    Tonight CJ ran 94 yards for a Touchdown vs The NY Jets – A Tennessee Titans franchise record, he broke his own record that he was tied with a Houston Oiler Runningback had on December 13, 1964 against the Jets, and people are questioning whether the Titan’s should keep CJ next year at $9 million ? What other star player do the Titans have? Who do they have to replace Chris Johnson ? No one. If you improve the offensive line which has a lot if injuries and is starting back ups off the street like Kyle Devan then Chris Johnson’s stats will improve even more at one of the hardest positions to play at the NFL level…

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