Titans plan to keep Chris Johnson, pay him $10 million in 2013

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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.

45 responses to “Titans plan to keep Chris Johnson, pay him $10 million in 2013

  1. His star power in TN is something that may have been overlooked. Good or bad, he gets alot of press for that team. Probably sells alot of jerseys too. I think CJ could be still be great if he was splitting time with a downhill between the tackles runner. Far too inconsistent as an every down back nowadays though.

  2. Oh yes, let us continue to hate on CJ. He got paid and quit running, blah blah blah. Has anyone actually bothered to watch any of the titans games this year? I doubt you have, they are awful to watch. I, in fact have watched every game. Consistent pressure up the middle and defenders in the backfield. The O Line is a mess. It has been all year. Our once DOMINANT O line is pathetic. And to think our head coach is a HOF lineman, and so is our line coach. Maybe Bud should stop being such a chisler and hire some coaches that can….coach?

  3. I think their posturing to get teams to do a trade with them so they can get something in return. It would be alot better for them then just dumping him and getting nothing.
    I cant see them keeping him without a pay reduction.

  4. Those long runs he breaks off are great but he needs to stop trying to get them all the time. I think the 2009 season went to his head a little, he should just focus on taking what the defense gives him, it would make him a more consistent threat instead of trying to reverse field and find gaps that simply aren’t there.

  5. He’s the equivalent of a true homerun hitter, a guy who gets you 35+ over the fence but who also hits .240 with a huge number of strikeouts.
    Homerun hitters sell tickets (and jerseys) and therefore make twice the $$ of players with better stats.

  6. I take a look at Chris Johnson and I see a very good running back that is asked to do a lot behind an offensive line and quarterback that are not very good.

    In turn, I have come to understand just how great Adrian Peterson truly is. Johnson has the potential to break a big run every time he touches the ball, but at times he goes down easily.

    I correlate overspending in sports to everyday things. Cars are overpriced but without them what would we do? Houses are overpriced but without them we’d be in a terrible situation.

    In order to win in the NFL, you need to spend money, and sometimes overspend. Smart decision by the Titans to keep him.

  7. He has no line and his qb is still learning. He should take a pay cut so they can shore up that line.

  8. The guy is a speedster, thats it. He is not a patient back, he tries to hit a homerun at every at bat and strikes out FAR too often. His speed took the league by storm in 2009, but eventually the league adjusts to speed. He is obviously capable of game changing plays, but I wouldn’t want him ANYWHERE near my locker room.

    AD on the other hand… doesn’t have the raw speed of Johnson but runs with patience and raw power, not too mention speed thats well above average. Plus he doesn’t throw his line under the bus when things don’t go his way. Better team mate, better back, better football player.

  9. @kirschmania, you got to where I was going first.
    Keep in mind the line play this year is not on par with what he had his first three years. In the game Monday night, the Titans did not have 3 of their starters from training camp suited up (Michael Roos, who had the great block on the Locker touchdown, is the only one not on IR). Kevin Matthews, who started the game at center, had already hit the sidelines with a high ankle sprain.
    The o-line this year is composed of journeymen and cast-offs, with a few of the Titans normal backups (Velasco is the only one I can come up with off the top of my head) left playing. Tennessee would be foolish to get rid of one of their only playmakers (even if he has been inconsistent recently).

    On the PR side, read the cleats.

  10. As far as CJ selling jerseys, the Titans would make the same amount of money if he’s wearing their jersey or if he’s wearing a Texans jersey.

    1/32 of whatever the profit is. Teams equally split jersey revenues.

  11. Chris Johnson has run over 1000 yards every single season in the NFL. This year he did it with 4 of 5 starting Olinemen out and a terrible QB who can only run. Johnson is the only great player the Titans have, and they’re in doubt to keep or cut him, ridicolous. Cut him, he will have a new team in less than 10 minutes.

  12. This isn’t a slam against Chris Johnson, just an observation on the relatively inferior importance of RB position in today’s pass-dependent NFL: For the past decade or so, the most consistently successful teams have elite QBs and often surprisingly middle of the road (or worse) RBs. Conversely, teams with elite RBs and middle of the road QBs tend to get stuck watching the playoffs from their couch. It makes sense to allocate most of a team’s financial resources towards the positions that improve the passing game and stop the pass. So is CJ worth a fair amount of money? Sure. Is he worth breaking the bank for? Not in my opinion, no—not because he’s not a very good RB, but because RBs in general just don’t contribute as heavily to a team’s overall success.

  13. Johnson and Barry Sanders are the only players in NFL history to have three touchdown runs of 80 yards or more in one season.
    Adrian Peterson will join that group before the season is over.

  14. Just to tack on to the line issues, in some cases they’ve been down to 3rd stringers on the line. With 16 or 17 guys on IR, it’s not going to be easy to stay consistent.

    More consistency would be nice, but their needs to be more around him for that to happen.

  15. $10 million is a lot of dough, CJ is great, so maybe. But this whole idea that CJ is ”too inconsistent” is bogus. An RB can only run through the holes that open up. Tennessee used to have a great OL, and they need to restock on some quality linemen.

  16. The Titans and their rich culture of historically bad decisions. I love these guys. Any time I need a laugh, I look at their news. How far have they fallen from “The Music City Miracle”. And when they were The Oilers, were they ever relevant?

  17. AP runs behind a line that was “patched” together this year, and a qb that has had how many games under 100 yards? And a QB rating of what? And he’s closing in on dickersons record. AP breaks off 10+ yard runs with how many guys in the box week in and week out. CJ still has a qb that can complete some passes and keep the defenses honest to a point. CJ has one thing… Speed… That’s it. AP has speed, power, agility, determination, and the right attitude. AP is worth the 10 mil.. Even in a passing league.. CJ is worth half that. He just flat out isn’t that good. End of story.

  18. turboreattore says:

    Dec 19, 2012 9:57 AM

    Chris Johnson has run over 1000 yards every single season in the NFL.


    The 1000/season metric is one of the worst stats in the NFL. Over 16 games, that’s 62.5 yards/game.

    Color me unimpressed.

    Better Stats: Yards Per Carry, Yards After Contact, Yards From Scrimmage.

    Better Evaluation: Watch the player, because stats are nothing.

  19. Huge titanfan here. We should definitely keep CJ.

    But let’s be real about the O-line and injuries. Most of the O-line injuries have come late in the season, but CJ was struggling early. Truth is, even the starting O-line was not playing well.

    Sorry, Bruce Matthews, but you gotta go.

  20. A speed demon like Johnson is totally different when he hits an open crease in the DLine. He takes angles that just about any other man in the NFL would be caught by and blazes right past. There are guys that are nearly as fast as him, but they would break within five snaps of running between the tackles. What Johnson does in that respect is amazing. That’s just not something you can coach or replace.

    I compare him to Fitzgerald. Fitz is never going to lead the league in receiving or touchdowns when he’s got (insert Cardinals QB here) to work with.

    Johnson’s OLine has deteriorated around him since his 2K season. Whereas a lot of RBs break under the weight oft that workload’s worth of runs, it was his OLine that did.

  21. Arian Foster 2013 Base Salary – $5MM
    Chris Johnson 2013 Base Salary – $10MM

    I’ll take Arian Foster for half the money, half the head ache, 3 times the TD’s, and 1/4 of the turnovers…

    And Arian signed his deal more recently than Chris Johnson….

  22. the interior of the O-line has stunk ever since Mawae was cut/forced into retirement…and the play-calling shows absolutely no creativity in that it simply runs CJ directly into that weak interior, where he is typically met head-on…

    better run schemes and improved O-line talent could yield some amazing things from CJ and he could easily earn his pay…

    but he needs to bring something more to the table as well…far too often he goes down very easily or doesn’t follow his blocks, instead trying to bounce for a bigger play…

  23. Owners would do well to not sign any RB to more than 4 years, and certainly not to a contract that runs past their 30th birthday. Sure, you might get lucky, but more often than not you end up with a broken down has been.

    But owners like drawing to an inside straight, that’s why there is so much dead cap money in the league.

  24. Chris Jonhnson had a 2nd round grade back in 08, guess what he plays like a 2nd rounder, good but not elite, he worths that money? I don’t think so but Titans really dont’ have a choice.

  25. In all of those low yardage games, he had minimal carries. Get a better defense, so they arent having to come from behind via the pass, and give the man 25-30 carries a game.

  26. Smart move. This is better than building the team around Jake Locker. Hopefully, Bud Adams will spend some of his cap money on a better offensive line and hire Juan Castillo as the offensive line coach.
    I do not know why people are surprised, why would the Titans cut their best player?

  27. dalucks says: Smart move.

    Dumb move, and if you are ever wondering why, e.g., the Patriots remain consistently excellent over the years while teams like the Browns don’t, that is one reason. The Patriots never overpay any player, so they have more money to spend on, oh, “a better offensive line”.

  28. They have to use that 89% or whatever it is of the cap next year, and it’s not like they have a lot of established veteran talent that’s going to be costing them a ton of money. They have the money to pay CJ and still decide on a few other guys whose contracts are coming up and might actually be worth investing in.

    I would much rather they pay their own homegrown pick who, faults and all, is still a legitimately top tier back (and also impressively durable so far), rather than trying to fill their cap quota with high-priced UFAs. For all the grief he gets, Johnson is a much better team player than he gets credit for and is not nearly the diva/problem child some people try to make him out to be.

  29. WTF are you idiots talking about? All of you CJ haters know that the minute the Titans cut CJ, you would be praying your team picked him up.. And for the AP situation.. that record he is after would already belong to Cj if it wasn’t for Ed Hochuli’s bs holding call on Armad Hall in 2008 game against Seattle. Check online, Ed apologized to Cj for the crappy call! For the idiot with the comment about the fumbling issue, AP has 24 career fumbles and CJ has 12. Do the math, thats 1 fumble out of every 70 attempts for AP, and 1 fumble out of every 120 attempts for CJ. As for yardage AP is about 1760 ahead of CJ, but dont forget thats with another season and 264 attemps more than CJ. Im not saying CJ is the best back in the league but he is still a top tier running back.

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