Former NFLPA president thinks Chris Johnson has a point


Former Titans running back Chris Johnson dubbed his old team “nasty” for its decision to cut him after free agency but only days before the start of the offseason workout program.

Former Titans center and former NFLPA president Kevin Mawae thinks Johnson has a point.

“I’ve got to give some credit to Chris,” Mawae said on 102.5 The Game, via Terry McCormick of  “There are some times when the business side of it is done wrong and if the team knew they were gonna cut him or whatever, then I’m in agreement with Chris that they should have done it earlier.  There’s no sour grapes about it.  You just don’t do business that way, is what I think Chris is trying to say and I would agree with that.”

But here’s the thing.  The Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated when Mawae served as NFLPA president permitted the move, as did the contract Johnson signed with the Titans.

In 2012 and 2013, Johnson’s contained triggers that forced the Titans to make a move early in the offseason.  Both years, the Titans opted to keep Johnson.

This year, the contract didn’t have a quick trigger, via either a roster bonus or a conversion of non-guaranteed base salary to guaranteed payments.  So the Titans had the ability to squat on Johnson in the hopes of finagling a trade partner.  And they did.

Have the Titans gone too far in the past?  They surely have, specifically when not cutting quarterback Steve McNair but also locking him out of the building during the offseason program for fear that he’d suffer an injury that would have left them on the hook for his full salary.  But for that ruling in 2006, the Titans may have tried to do the same thing to Johnson.

Is it right or wrong?  It complied with the applicable agreements, making right or wrong irrelevant.  Still, the Titans were fully within their rights — rights given to them by Johnson as part of the contract that paid him $30 million over three seasons featuring performances that didn’t justify the investment.

25 responses to “Former NFLPA president thinks Chris Johnson has a point

  1. CJ was willing to take a pay cut to leave the team but not to stay with the team. Titans were just paying him back. If you don’t treat a team right why would you expect them to treat you right in return? It was always about CJ, starting with his holdout.

  2. The successful teams just don’t operate like that and don’t treat their players like that n that’s why they’re good at getting top free agents to play for them whereas teams like the Titans struggle. Things like what they did get out and players and agents talk. Players with choices on where to play would never pick a team that does that and good agents wouldn’t allow one of their players to pick a team that does that unless it was their only choice.

  3. Johnson is a self absorbed idiot.
    Doesn’t he remember his idiotic holdout? Does he think the world only spins his way?

  4. Mawae was a great Center!! Not a good one! Great one! The Jets where foolish to let him go!! Then the man stands up for his beliefs then gets Blackballed from the League because if it!!

  5. this is the same chris johnson who held out for a big contract and now he is crying about being cut late? give me a break i am glad the titans put him in his place……..

  6. Just because its legal and it’s allowable in the NFLPA agreement doesn’t make it good or ethical. Being jerks is well within the legal rights of the Titans organization, but that doesn’t take away the fact that they behaved like jerks.

    Also, it’s hard to put concrete language in a contract that says, “won’t behave like jerks” (which is a two-way street between players and teams). The need to try to get specific about all of that is what makes the legal system so frustrating for everyone but lawyers.

    And there are other options. What goes around does tend to come around.

  7. Hey Chris if u wanted to stay here u would have made an effort to go in and meet the new staff and see what kind of plans they had for you. But instead you wanna go and bash the Titans I’m a fan but those comments was not called for. i wish you the best of luck with the J.E.T.S. hopefully you get over 1,000 yards.

    #Titanup #thisisouryear

  8. “It complied with the applicable agreements, making right or wrong irrelevant. ”

    Anyone still doubt there are too many lawyers in this country?

  9. Addition by subtraction how is that “nasty”. I believe some of the timing was because they were negotiating with a player that they wished to pay less money. The Jets will find out they overpayed.

  10. “It complied with the applicable agreements, making right or wrong irrelevant.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that compliance with the letter of law or an agreement renders a discussion of ethics irrelevant? Sure, the agreement permitted it, just like my marriage contract “permits” lots of things that I don’t do because they are just plain wrong.

  11. He’s not saying that it’s not permissible per the contract or the CBA. It’s just a really questionable way to do business with employees, and it makes sense why Tennessee is where they have been for most of the past 8 years. They are foolish if they think other NFL players and free-agents do not see these actions and take note.

  12. If Chris wants to be mad at anyone than be mad at himself and his agent for signing the contract he did that allowed the Titans to do what they did. They did nothing wrong, they had every right to do what they did. They were trying to trade him in hope of getting something of any value for himself instead of releasing him out right. It didn’t happen mainly because he was due 8 mil this yr and with the market for RB’s these days no one would be willing to do that. But if the Titans wanted to be “real nasty” they could’ve waited to right before the first game of the year to release him and pay him nothing.. Now that would’ve been wrong of them. But CJ made $30 mil in the past 2 yrs from the Titans.. So saying the Totans did him wrong is hilarious!!!

  13. Most of you have missed the point. No one has said Johnson was “right” to hold out just that the Titans’ handling of his release was bad business. It was legal under the rules but definitely [highly visible] bad business.

  14. Everyone is looking from the outside in… Half of you on here don’t even know what went on. Chris Johnson came in to meet the new staff, nor even had any phone conversations with any coach. Then he comes out in the media and says he ain’t taking no pay cut.. Cool, and CJ has every right to not take one. (Unless it’s with another team of coarse). But the Titans were fair to him in paying him what he was worth at the time they did. At that time he was the highest or 2nd highest paid RB in the league. Now come 2-3 yrs and paying him 30 mil already the market for RB’s has taken a big fall. So he was due 8 mil this yr. in which based on the market of RB’s and his past performances the past 2-3 yrs (after getting paid) the Titans and any one else with some business sense knew that he was being over paid this yr.
    But how do the Titans look bad when they were simply trying to keep a guy but pay him what he was worth, (take a pay-cut)? They were fair to him and gave him that big contract when he deserved it..right? So be fair to the Titans and take a pay-cut to what ur worth?? But what gets me is he’s willing to take a pay-cut for another team, but not the team that drafted you and made you a star?
    Another thing to is the Titans realized that he wasn’t taking a pay-cut so in return was trying to get something of value for him

  15. Just another example of terrible management practices by the Titans. Multiple mistakes over the years at a number of positions. Multiple mistakes at key coaching and executive positions as well.

    In CJ’s case, the holdout was not managed effectively. The Titans should not have given in to the holdout. In Jacksonville, Kahn didn’t cave to the MJD’s holdout. MJD eventually got back to work and fulfilled his contract. In this situation the team has all of the leverage…so why give in?

    The result is a monster contract that forced the current situation…the loss of an arguably still talented player because management caved, then wouldn’t bring forward a reduced salary offer. Why not at least make the offer? No matter what CJ said to the press.

    The RB position will be a problem this year unless Sankey can produce early. The QB position is another glaring liability. I just don’t get why more wasn’t done to upgrade at this position.

    Expect the streak of mediocrity to continue.

  16. If the Titans wanted to do him wrong then like I said before they could’ve easily waited to right before the 1st game of the season to release him. Now in my opinion that would’ve been bad buisness, but the Titans used all of their options to try to either keep him or get something for him.

    And for the person who said we never get good FA’s that’s because up until here lately, 2-3 yrs we are an organization who didn’t go out and over-pay for players. I don’t believe it has never been because players simply don’t want to play here because of “bad business”

  17. I don’t buy that free agents are avoiding the Titans, especially if the offer is good…but waiting on the release is bad business. The Titans hurt themselves as well by waiting to pull the trigger on CJ. It prevented them from making FA moves earlier in the process. For the same reason, waiting until just before camp would not advantageous.

  18. The Titans just know when to let their players go.. In other words NOT over paying players.. Just to name a few: Jovon Kearse, Albert Haynesworth, Kyle Vanden Bosh, Cortland Finnigan, Jarod Cook, and now CJ.

  19. Just like the owners probably weren’t real happy with him being an @ssclown holding out in 2011 when he had a valid contract that he signed…”

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