Burning Nash BridgesJune 29, 2011
The Tennessee Titans organization has an easy problem to fix. I’m not quite sure why they are dragging their feet. Chris Johnson is the best running back in the game, yet his pay is equivalent to Reggie Bush’s production. His current contract which he has out-performed is a five-year, $12 million rookie contract that was far below market value when he was drafted with the 24th pick in 2008.
Johnson has averaged 97.8 yards per game, which is the highest of any active rusher in the league. He’s also averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He’s the best and the numbers don’t lie.
Johnson wants to and deserves to be paid like the best running back in this league. Steven Jackson’s six-year, $48.5 million deal the starting point in any negotiations, because he’s the highest paid. His contract also has $21 million in guaranteed money and his average salary is over $8 million. Jamaal Charles (five years, $32.5 million with $13 million in guarantees) and Maurice Jones-Drew (five years, $31 million with $17.5 guaranteed) are almost making a lot more money than Johnson. If you had to draft RBs today out of these four who would you pick?
I can easily see a Charles Woodson situation where the Oakland Raiders thought they had Wood backed into a corner placing the franchise tag on him two years in a row. He played and got hurt. Oakland thought he was washed up…he only had one team really wanting his services, that being the Green Bay Packers and look at him now. He’s 34 years old and one of the top 5 defensive players in the game. Johnson can sit out this year, save his body the trauma and force a trade next season. His greatest asset is his speed and he’s not going to lose that in one season. Or, Johnson could poker face the Titans, keep his mouth shut, play out his contract, take the inevitable franchise tag, and then walk scott free when when he’s up for free agency.
Tennessee is starting to burn a bridge with their best player. I really hope they can swim.