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Chris Johnson could be a short-timer on Whisenhunt’s Titans

Johnson Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans have a new head coach, Ken Whisenhunt.  They also have a franchise running back who isn’t happy with his role.

At some point before Week One of the 2014 season, one of the two will be gone.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, providing an opinion that feels like it originated with someone who knows what’s going on but who asked that Wyatt not attribute the idea to any source, believes that Johnson will be released, eventually.  Wyatt points among other things to the $8 million salary, a year after Johnson rushed for only 1,077 yards, and Johnson’s 3.9-yard average in 2013.

Whisenhunt was non-committal during his press conference.  For anything other than “Chris Johnson is one of the best running backs in the NFL and we’d be crazy not to keep him and use him,” the message could be that Johnson could be not in the plans.

Johnson has made it clear that he won’t take a pay cut.  He also has made it clear that, if the team doesn’t plan to use him as a workhorse, the Titans should just cut him.

Johnson, who has made $30 million in three years, presumably prefers to receive an outright release.  Still, the Titans could at least try to trade him.  If Johnson thinks he can do better than $8 million in 2014 on the open market, any team that would step to the plate with that kind of cash also would potentially cough up a pick or two.

There’s no roster bonus or other trigger in Johnson’s contract requiring the team to move quickly; technically, the $8 million doesn’t become fully guaranteed until the start of the regular season (unless he suffers a season-ending injury in offseason workouts).

So the Titans could bide their time until the draft, dangling Johnson for a team that would be willing to roll the dice with Johnson, especially at a time when the increasing defensive focus on the passing game could make it easier to run the ball.

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24 Responses to “Chris Johnson could be a short-timer on Whisenhunt’s Titans”
  1. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 16, 2014 8:17 PM

    As soon as off season workouts start we’ll know if they intend to cut him if they tell him to stay away so he can’t get injured

  2. sirsupersouthern says: Jan 16, 2014 8:26 PM

    He got paid $30M and people wonder why he doesn’t run hard up the guts any more?

    RBs need to run hungry, and CJ just doesn’t do it any more. Can’t say I blame him. What good is having $30M (probably only about $2M now, considering he’s a pro football player) if you’re a drooling vegetable?

    The Titan will certainly cut an overpaid RB who can’t/won’t rush the guts, and nobody else will come close to matching that $8M. They may get *something* for him in a trade, but nothing substantial seeing as how everyone knows he’ll get cut.

    CJ was a flash in the pan who capitalized off a few great years. Those days are long behind him now and the Titans know it…

  3. spankygreen says: Jan 16, 2014 8:40 PM

    Imagine the nerve of this guy. Asking to be used in a way to help the team win….Fast as hell, durable, wants to contribute and earn his money. Again, the nerve of him……Well CJ, talking like that will get you traded or cut. the titans don’t want anyone in the locker room who wants to earn his money……

  4. chargerdillon says: Jan 16, 2014 8:47 PM

    Whisenhunt is a lot smarter than you give him credit for. If he does not have the QB to lead the team, he will lean on CJ2k.

    When all is said and done, I doubt Johnson will be complaining.

  5. Phil says: Jan 16, 2014 8:50 PM

    Yeah…I like how some people are making Johnson out to be the bad guy here when he’s saying complaining about not being used enough and helping this team win. Man, have we as fans gotten so fickle that we’re complaining about a player who is competitive and wants to win?

  6. southpaw0609 says: Jan 16, 2014 8:50 PM

    You guys have a short memory. He was a locker room cancer during his contract negotiation season

  7. statsdolie says: Jan 16, 2014 8:50 PM

    Anyone who’s seen him play the last few years can tell he’s not the same player he was. The nerve of the titans not wanting to pay him for what he did four years ago.

  8. jetfan74 says: Jan 16, 2014 8:58 PM

    The Jets will trade you a back who can’t catch but runs hard between the tackles. CJ would flourish in MM’s system. It would look a lot like J Charles in KC. Throw in a late round pick and you have a deal. I will gladly have a durable every down back who wants the rock when it counts, ALL THE TIME.

  9. dodohead418 says: Jan 16, 2014 9:07 PM

    I’m thinking he is a no timer not a short timer.

  10. tomtravis76 says: Jan 16, 2014 9:07 PM

    Sure seems like all cast off running backs end up in New England…and most do well. Could see him in a pats uniform.

  11. realfootballfan says: Jan 16, 2014 9:13 PM

    Good old clueless Titan fans. Johnson only wants to earn his money, but let’s rip him and praise our latest mediocre savior, Whisenhunt. I suspect Johnson will be fine when he leaves and is running for his next team. He’s not Larry Johnson or Clinton Portis, washed up at the end of his time with your team.

  12. kenny2neworleans says: Jan 16, 2014 9:26 PM

    Wish the saints would trade Ingram for him!

  13. quadya says: Jan 16, 2014 9:49 PM

    bring him to south beach

  14. 6250claimer says: Jan 16, 2014 9:50 PM

    Johnson is not only a tool, he’s a fool. He’d almost certainly do FAR better to be a good soldier and offer a pay cut. ANYTHING the Titans would be willing to pay him is almost certainly double (or better) his value on the open market. He’d be lucky to get a whiff at anything over $2m. Apparently he hasn’t been paying attention to the veteran FA market the past few years.. of course not, he’s too busy watching his own highlight reels from when he was actually good.

  15. coloradoviking says: Jan 16, 2014 10:39 PM

    If he would like to take a paycut he could always be Adrian Petersons back up. He could show him how to do it.

  16. walkers8484 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:45 PM

    You all know the rules, gotta do whatcha do, stay true! c2k

  17. udwnwitjpp says: Jan 16, 2014 10:48 PM

    David Wilson done far as I’m concernd come to the Gmen a stable organization in need of a run game playing for a championship team will drop that price down I guareente that #comeonCJ #giantsnation

  18. flipola says: Jan 16, 2014 10:50 PM

    A general rule in football these days: draft a RB, sign him to 4 yr deal, let him leave when contract is up, repeat. After that time, he’ll be on the decline.

  19. shayeezy says: Jan 16, 2014 10:54 PM

    he’s as fast as charles, but not as tough or smart. doubt he’s as good of a route runner, either.

  20. ironmanfe says: Jan 16, 2014 11:32 PM

    Them overpaying And trying to use Chris Johnson is one of the main reasons that the Titans are where they are. Jeff Fisher knew that CJ was a good draw and he lived up to the hype. The problem is that he started to believe his own press. His avg is the same as Eddie George was making 4 times as much. Good riddance.

  21. Awol.West says: Jan 16, 2014 11:32 PM

    Someone will sign and play him, I respect NE but can someone else step up if he’s cut loose?

  22. boozer8888 says: Jan 16, 2014 11:36 PM

    The Miami Dolphins should consider him if he is released. He is the kind of homerun hitter that you always want on your team.

  23. anarchopurplism says: Jan 17, 2014 7:53 AM

    Remember when some people thought CJ was better than Adrian Peterson?

    CJ has amazing speed, but if you cannot look to run up the edge everytime. Need to play with heart between the tackles.

  24. whiteknightblackheart says: Jan 17, 2014 9:00 AM

    Jets will give you Mark Sanchez, for a straight up trade.

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