We noted on Sunday that the Titans will have a tough decision to make regarding running back Chris Johnson after the season, when they must decide by February 9 whether to release him or to guarantee $9 million of his $10 million salary in 2013. But according to one report, the Titans don’t view it as all that tough a decision: Johnson is staying put.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Titans fully intend to keep Johnson on the team, with his current contract in place, and pay him that $10 million salary in 2013. According to Rapoport, the Titans think Johnson’s status as the seventh-leading rusher in the NFL this year, as well as his status as the team’s most recognizable star, makes him worth the money.
There’s no doubt that Johnson is still a big-play back: His 94-yard touchdown on Monday night was his third touchdown run of 80 or more yards this season. Johnson and Barry Sanders are the only players in NFL history to have three touchdown runs of 80 yards or more in one season.
The problem, however, is that Johnson is far too inconsistent. On Johnson’s other 20 carries on Monday night, he gained a grand total of 28 yards. And Johnson has had some spectacularly awful games this season, with totals including 11 carries for four yards, eight carries for 17 yards, 14 carries for 24 yards and 15 carries for 24 yards.
But the Titans apparently think that despite those bad games, he’s worth the money. If they’re paying him $10 million, they’ll need him to score more 80-yard touchdowns, and cut out the four-yard games.