Johnson prepared to hold out through training camp?

The Titans insist that they don’t have a problem brewing with running back Chris Johnson. He wants more money, but the team doesn’t believe he’ll actually hold out. GM Mike Reinfeldt is even downplaying the issue by noting how Johnson missed much of last year’s offseason voluntary work too, yet still showed up for day one of training camp.

But the cold, hard reality is that the Titans better be ready to dig their heels in, because CJ appears prepared to hold out as long as he can.

After recently speaking with Johnson about the issue, NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp believes that CJ is serious about holding out beyond training camp.

“There’s going to have to be some talking before Chris goes back to Tennessee,” Sapp said. “He’s prepared to take this through training camp.”

The main problem for the Titans, outside of Johnson’s potential holdout of course, is that they’re hamstrung by the league’s “30 percent” rule, which prohibits large raises being given for future base salaries. So if they were to draw up a new deal for Johnson, it would have to be largely bonus-based, which no team wants to do because that money is usually guaranteed.

One of two things will have to happen in order for the Titans and Johnson to settle this problem. Either the Titans are going to have to get creative in coming up with a new contract or Johnson is just going to have to trust that the team will get him a new deal as soon as a new collective bargaining agreement is signed and the “30 percent” rule is lifted. The Titans could roll the dice and hope that Johnson reports to camp without receiving a new contract, but if he doesn’t, they risk losing their most important player for an extended period of time.

Who will blink first?


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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