Titans running back Chris Johnson will have surgery this week for a torn meniscus.
Johnson told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean that the procedure is “minor” and will repair an issue that he played through for almost all of the 2013 season.
“It’s nothing major. A lot of people don’t know I been playing with it since week 3 of the season,” Johnson told Wyatt.
Johnson started all 16 games but averaged a career-low 3.9 yards a carry last season. Based on that disappointing season, and his 2014 salary of $8 million, the Titans are expected to ask Johnson to take a pay cut, and release him if he refuses. Jason La Canfora of CBS reports that Johnson isn’t inclined to take a pay cut and will therefore almost certainly get cut.
That would make Johnson one of the most interesting free agents in the NFL this year. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll make the kind of money that he’s been making the last three years, and if teams believe that 3.9 yards per carry average is an indication that Johnson is in decline, he’s not going to make anything even close to that. On the other hand, all it takes is one team to think Johnson still has a lot left at age 28, and he could earn himself another big contract. Probably somewhere other than Tennessee.