After all would Tennessee had finished so strongly last season if it wasn’t for the sheer domination by CJ in the backfield? The burner not only single handedly dominated opposing defenses last year, but the second year back proved to be the most effective offensive player in the league and even set a new milestone for running backs by breaking Marshall Faulk’s yards from scrimmage record with over 2,500. And after all, how many stars of 8-8 teams are considered for such awards as the league MVP and the Best Offensive Player award? Chris Johnson won one of the two.
And there is no debate that Chris Johnson deserves to be rewarded for his breakthrough performance, but the problem is that he is currently under contract for three more seasons. Johnson signed a 5 year deal worth 12 million dollars when he was drafted a few years back and the Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 is due to make less than 1 million dollars in base salary until 2012.
Johnson claims he should be paid for his significant impact on the Titans now and doesn’t want to wait around for a new deal in a few years. The Coaches’ Dream wants to be the highest paid offensive player in the league meaning he wants a plus 100 million dollar deal done this season. Of course a running back’s chances of getting a franchise quarterback type deal is a hopeless proposition considering a running back’s prime years are prior to the age of 30 years old and a quarterback’s prime years are usually just beginning around the age of 30. In other words the longevity of the average NFL back is only four or five years at most and Johnson might not be of nearly as high value by the time his contract runs out.
It’s a tough position for the Fish considering he needs Chris Johnson to be on the field if his team is going to have any success this season and the backups in place are mediocre at best. On the other hand, Chris Johnson needs to understand that sitting out the first ten weeks will certainly not make his value any higher in a potential free agent market . As of today the running back is still claiming that he didn’t work out in Tennessee last week and hasn’t all off-season as a means of protesting.
Hopefully the contract compromise talks that are beginning to take place work into both side’s favor soon. Because if Chris Johnson misses time this year because he is unhappy with his current deal then nobody ends up being happy in Nashville.