Teams wonder whether Chris Johnson will be a free agent

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As teams prepare their list of potential free agents in 2012, there’s a fairly big name that some currently are putting in the “maybe” category.

Per a league source, several teams believe that the Titans could release running back Chris Johnson before the fifth day of the 2012 league year, at which time his base salary of $8 million becomes fully guaranteed.

Johnson’s $8 million compensation for next year is guaranteed for injury only.  At the time he signed the new deal, it was assumed that he’d eventually get the money.  Now, there’s growing speculation that the Titans won’t allow the salary to become guaranteed unless his on-field play improves significantly.

Actually, there’s a good chance that the number will be $7.7 million, since under the contract Johnson’s salary will drop by $300,000 if he doesn’t rush for 1,000 yards in 2011.  Through seven games, he’s on pace for 690 yards.

Another $9 million of Johnson’s guaranteed money is guaranteed only for injury now, and won’t become fully guaranteed until the fifth day of the 2013 league year.  As a result, the Titans can avoid a full $17 million of Johnson’s $30 million in guaranteed money if they cut him before March 2012.

So if Johnson doesn’t step it up, he could be stepping out of Nashville.

62 responses to “Teams wonder whether Chris Johnson will be a free agent

  1. ClearlyJohnson attended the Jamarcus Russell School of Football;

    negotiate a big fat contract, then do nothing ever again on a football field.

  2. If I told you before the season started that would be talks of Chris Johnson being released you would say ________

  3. Cut CJ0.5K before it’s too late. He’s a small back anyways. No doubt he’ll be worn out sooner or alter even if he manages to be productive again this year.

  4. Paying someone extra does not increase performance or productivity.

    NO company of any type should give raises for people doing the SAME job they did last year.

    Workers are a dime a dozen!

  5. This has to be one of the most shocking individual player situations of the year. I mean, this guy was as good as gold the past two years. What happened this off-season?

  6. In an interview in yesterday’s The Tennessean, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said that it’s unprecedented for a star running back to hit a wall this early in his career. He speculated that Johnson is essentially sabotaging the Titans out of bitterness about how the contract talks went down.

  7. He should be prosecuted for fraud…….or for giving dentists PTSD…….or for his massacre of the English language.

    Take your pick!

  8. What a dissapointment hes become. 2 years ago he was the most exciting player in the league. Now hes being replaced by javon ringer. Have some dignity man.

  9. @richm2256

    The biggest difference between Johnson and Russell is, Johnson actually did something on the field to earn this contract while Russell did not!

  10. Weird, adrian peterson signed just as big of a contract, and he’s even a year older in this league, and he seems to be doing just fine.

  11. tennesseeoilers says:
    Nov 6, 2011 9:01 AM
    In an interview in yesterday’s The Tennessean, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said that it’s unprecedented for a star running back to hit a wall this early in his career. He speculated that Johnson is essentially sabotaging the Titans out of bitterness about how the contract talks went down.


    Faulk’s comments don’t make sense, but then they seldom do. If the details of CJ’s contract are as this report states, then wouldn’t it be counterproductive for CJ to be “sabotaging the Titans?” Besides, TN is 4-3 with a realistic chance at the playoffs.

    Faulk’s history of running of at the mouth parallels his RB career, HOF. Maybe there’s something Freudian here.

  12. Weird, adrian peterson signed just as big of a contract, and he’s even a year older in this league, and he seems to be doing just fine.

    Adrian has heart. Kristen is a poser.

  13. If you think Johnson is bad, wait until you see the productivity of Matt Forte of the Bears decline if he should get a lucrative contract extension.

    Forte will make Albert Haynesworth look like Carl Lewis ducking out avoiding picking up the check at Old Country Buffet !

  14. Scat-backs have always been cute to watch, they have their productive moments but everything is dictated by their ability to gain yards in open space, not run between the tackles. I suspect CJzero knew this and thus he played hardball for this contract. Shanny is a great back but the majority of his production comes from sweeps, off tackle, screens and short passes. It is backs like Forte, both Jacksons, A. Peterson etc. that are dangerous no matter where they run. ….I remember laughing so hard a couple of years ago when CJzero tried to claim that he was a better RB than A. Peterson. And for CJ’s info, his new “contract” is dwarfed by Peterson’s.

  15. People shouldn’t compare Chris Johnson to Deangelo Williams. Williams gets 9 carries a game and isn’t doing that great due to the coaches not giving him the ball. Johnson had a shot at the worst running defense in the league, got plenty of carries, and came up with absolutely nothing. Perhaps down the road we’ll hear he had some sort of injury, but for now, I would say Chris Johnson’s mind isn’t on football. He’s signed up with young money and and even has his own clothing line. He got a big contract to shore up his finances, as far as he’s concerned, he’s set. He doesn’t put in ANY ounce of extra effort out there.

  16. CJ even commented that he felt the new contract was for his past work and had nothing to do with his future performance.

    He has pulled the ultimate con job on the Tacks……

  17. @ gb4mno

    The Titans have a realistic chance of making the playoffs.

    Thanks I really needed a good laugh this morning.

  18. Yards in September and October are earned in April through August. That’s when CJ0K packed it in. The only football he was preparing for was by reliving his glory year on Madden 09.

    You see it all the time. When they’re whining in public, they’re not working out in private. He sabotaged his career this summer, and no amount of effort can fix that now. It’s just too late.

  19. Johnson wants out of Tennessee. Let’s stop beating around the bush here people. Watch the film, completely uninspired efforts. Question is, as the PFT blog points out, where would the next landing spot be? *cough* cowboys/redskins/denver *cough*

    On the flip side, what Forte is doing in Chicago needs to be talked about more. Stop wasting ink an ungreatful Johnson and start the pro-Matt Forte media blitz. The dude is performing and is a solid character guy.

  20. Every running back that “outperforms” his contract can thank CJ for sabotaging any leverage he might have had. It is now etched in stone: running backs are interchageable and you need not pay huge $$$ to secure a decent one. Sorry Matt Forte, that’s just how it is!

  21. If I’m the GM of any NFL team, I’m never paying another player that’s holding out as long as I live. This is the potential result – this is why you don’t pay a malcontent.

  22. Through 7 games, he’s on pace for 690 yards.

    Through 7 games, he should ALREADY HAVE 690 yards.

  23. “Now, there’s growing speculation that the Titans won’t allow the salary to become guaranteed unless his on-field play improves significantly.”

    Are you kidding me?

    We ALL know that’s not going to happen, this fool is done with the Titans.

  24. I am pleasantly surprised that the Titans will have an easier time getting out of this contract than I expected.

    Now build around Locker and Britt.

  25. It’s a shift in the NFL. Teams look at player lifespan and value. Runningbacks have short shelf lives and therefore have limited value, monitarily speaking.

    He got paid because the Titans are talent starved. Matt Forte, Fred Jackson and any other free agent RB in the years to come will be sadly disappointed. Regardless of the fans love, its a business and Chris Johnson ruined the business of RB for the foreseeable future.

    Its running back by commitee and systems over individual talent. Indy and the Pack had below average RB’s and won Superbowls.

    The beancounters notice.

  26. Chris Johnson = Albert Haynesworth without the stepping on Al Gurode’s head thing.

    The Titans made the mistake of giving him a multiple year contract. From this point forward, you will be seeing many more running backs getting the tag. It keeps that hunger in their bellys. Look at Forte this year. What would you rather have… a happy running back that just got his fat new contract, or a pissed off running mad running back?

  27. With the price of gold going up C.J. Better take good care of those teeth. He may not be seeing many more paydays.

  28. Who didn’t see this coming?
    Big payday followed by a few years of waiting to be called for a tryout….

    Will he be flabbergasted?

  29. To go off what someone else said, paying people more in general does not make them more productive and can in fact decrease their productivity.

    And can we just assume he’s a Raider next year?

  30. Teams are wondering whether CJ will be a free agent this offseason.

    Meanwhile, Titans fans are wondering whether this might be the week where CJ finally breaks a tackle or beats a defender in a one-on-one situation.

    In years past, on any given play, the first defender had virtually no shot at taking CJ down. This year, it’s the second defender who has no shot….because CJ never makes it past the first guy.

  31. as a raven fan i’m happy to see ray rice a lot. he is a high caliber person. he is a team guy. says all the right things. a young team leader. i’m sure there are many players like him. ozzie gets it when drafting and aquiring players. he makes mistakes but not too many.

  32. Matt Forte, LeShaun McCoy, Fred Jackson, and Arian Foster are going to want to punch Chrissie Johnson and Hillis in the head for ruining it for all other running backs.

  33. after that Jamarcus move he should be a free agent this week…

    there’s no point in anyone falling for these jokers anymore…..

  34. Adrian Peterson signed a huge deal and he still runs just as hard as he ever has and leads the NFL in rushing.. it just comes down to what your priorities are…

  35. Johnson very well may have been a one hit wonder. Whether it was securing a big contract that made him lazy or being thin in the hips, he looks like he has lost his mojo.

  36. My take: No one can explain this and make reasonable sense so far. He’s sabotaging his team intentionally?? C’mon man! Here’s what is REALLY going on….

    Chris Johnson has been playing hurt all year. He knew that coming into training camp and if he didn’t get his big $$$ before he reported, he’d never get it since he’s hurt. He’s not telling the staff what’s bugging him cuz if he did, they see this was a legacy injury and could possibly void his contract. He figures if he gets enough games in, he could then report it down the road when the history is much more fuzzy. So far, he’s pulling it off perfectly. Meanwhile, all his FF owners are ready to issue contracts on the guy. Crazy stuff!

  37. Thats what happens when you run your mouth more than you run on the field. CJ is only a good back when he has a great line blocking for him. With the average line the Titans have, Johnson doesn’t get the gaping holes he needs to succeed. I don’t think the Titans have a plan set to replace him, so I would expect he will be getting his money.

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