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.