Chris Johnson will take less, but how much less?

AP

Despite being previously reluctant to reduce his pay in order to facilitate a trade, Titans running back Chris Johnson is willing to take less to make it happen, as Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reported last night.

The question now isn’t whether Johnson will take less, but how much less?

As we understand it, not much.  At a certain point, Johnson will decide to hold firm until he’s released and hits the open market.  While the Titans can, in theory, string this out until Week One of the regular season before any of Johnson’s pay becomes guaranteed, they’ll have another Steve McNair mess on their hands if the impasse lingers past the start of the offseason program and the Titans try to lock Johnson out, in order to ensure he doesn’t suffer a season-ending injury that would put them on the hook for his full $8 million salary.

For a team that is interested in acquiring Johnson, the question becomes whether to make a trade to get him on a reduced deal, or to let him hit the market and hope he can be signed with other teams pursuing him.

It’s currently unclear which, if any, teams are interested.  Though he’s still believed to be a difference maker, the overall market for running backs has become depressed in recent years.  The going rate for free agents signed to date this year is $3.5 million per year over three years (Toby Gerhart and Donald Brown), with Darren McFadden chasing a six-year, $60 million rookie deal with a one-year contract that pays him $100,000 guaranteed.

The top running back in the class, Texans tailback Ben Tate, has generated interest only from the Browns.  Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has drawn interest from the Jets, but no visit yet.

Johnson has made $30 million over the last three years.  He’ll add to that total in 2014; eventually, we’ll find out how much — and from whom.

16 responses to “Chris Johnson will take less, but how much less?

  1. what if he was paired with Jamaal Charles in kc? if they were both on the field at the same time their speed would be a match up nightmare for defenses

  2. This guy won’t make a team, I doubt any teams are interested in this self centered guy. He won’t be happy unless he gets all the carries and if he gets all the carries you will lose every game without an elite QB. This guy lost a step and his field vision. Hugely overrated. He is done in the league.

  3. I think that paying him more than $3.5 million a year is a total waste. You can get every bit as much production, with a lot less dancing and carries that die out at the line of scrimmage, out of two rookies for much cheaper.

  4. Would have to go to a place with a very good O-line in place. Denver and SF are places that jump out, but neither team wants this guy in their locker rooms

  5. I remember that after CJ1K held out and then recieved his new 53 million $ contract he was the featured guest on Munchack’s TV show. The host ask Johnson what his plans were after his football career was over? CJ1K replied “I’ll be counting money”
    I’m not making this up it happened just like that! As a Titan Fan I knew the TITANS WERE SCREWED!! The rest is history. Any team that wants a ME ONLY player should sign or trade for him. If your home stadium is turf you will see some great TDruns but that will be all. It’s all about him.
    I’ll be glad when he’s no longer a Titan!

  6. Titan fan here, he’s not the worst RB in the NFL. He landed about 11th, overall last season. He is not worth $8M, but someone will sign him. It’s just a matter of time.

  7. If he can play for less somewhere else, he can play for less here. For whatever reason, Titans fans seem to genuinely hate this guy. That said, he’s better than any out RB currently on the roster. He’s also better than any other FA they can bring in.

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