Tommy Smith: “Premature” to say Chris Johnson won’t remain with Titans

AP

Over the weekend, a report from Mike Silver and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on the state of the Titans said that running back Chris Johnson was “almost certainly gone after this season.”

It wasn’t a shocking nugget of information. Johnson is set to make $8 million next season and his production — 820 rushing yards and 3.8 yards per carry — isn’t at the same level as that salary. As Mike Florio pointed out on Tuesday, however, there are a lot of decisions to make in Tennessee and the decision on Johnson will almost certainly wait until the team’s decided on their coach and General Manager for 2014 and beyond.

Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith will be the man pulling the trigger on those decisions and he’s agonizing over what to do with coach Mike Munchak, which may help explain why he says that any talk of Johnson leaving the team is “premature” and that the team needs to make better use of the running back.

“Chris has done nothing but what he’s been asked to do there. He suits up and he plays every game. I think they need to figure out how to use him and his skill set better, but he has been a good teammate and a good player,” Smith said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “Chris, like every player, we are looking at all of them. … We are evaluating each and every position on this team, and we are only going to keep players we think will contribute and earn their keep.”

If Munchak does stay as coach, it’s hard to imagine that he’s suddenly going to “figure out how to use him and his skill set better” since he hasn’t been able to figure it out after 45 games with Johnson on the roster. How that factors into Smith’s ultimate decision is one of many questions that the Titans will answer once the offseason rolls around.

11 responses to “Tommy Smith: “Premature” to say Chris Johnson won’t remain with Titans

  1. I understand that Smith needs to say this, but if Chris Johnson isn’t gone after the season then I will be pissed. He would have to take a huge paycut to stay in my opinion. And I’m sure he won’t be willing to do that.

  2. Yes it’s best to truly not make a decision on the Titans coaches and players until after the season is over…let’s see how the team finishes the season before anyone jumps to conclusions…the fast is that an average of 33% of NFL rosters have new players replace old ones…the media just likes to come up with juicy stories to fill their sports pages to increase readers…

    Chris Johnson will have to definitely take a pay cut to stay on the team next season based on his current production…
    P.S. I made this screen name before Chris Johnson signed his current contract…a little man like him can only take a pounding for so long…

    —Titans Fan Dan

  3. Replace the coach & his staff. Restructure CJs contract. Go after a competent & consistent veteran qb(not named cutler). Cut bait on Locker & draft a qb.

  4. This is kind of like Mike Shanahan not being the head coach in Washington next year..

    Both are premature to say, but you know both are going to happen.

  5. I wish they would cut ties with this entire core group because they aren’t gonna win. As for CJ, I’m fine if he stays. But I think its time for him to take a reduced roll. CJ can still a productive part-time back. And even though he’s no longer CJ2K. Every time he’s gotten in the open field this season, he’s scored. So for half, or maybe a lil less than half of his salary and maybe being the #2 of a 1-2 punch. What the hell. Let him hang around.

  6. Truth be told , it’s partly CJ’s fault for his performance, but in reality it’s our awful center play for the past 3 years. When we had a competent center in Velasco, Mawae CJ ran like he did , but when our center is calling bad shifts at the line and cant hold his own, then yes, the RB is going to look like garbage.

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