Chris Johnson to holdout once lockout lifts?

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) breaks past Indianapolis Colts linebacker Gary Brackett (58) for a 15-yard touchdown in the third quarter of the Colts 23-20 win at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on January 2, 2011. UPI /Mark Cowan

Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean does not expect Titans running back Chris Johnson to report to training camp without a new contract once the lockout is lifted.

Last year Johnson received what amounted to a $1.5 million raise. The Titans moved money he’d earned in escalators from 2012 to 2010, and added some incentives. When he finally reported for training camp, Johnson – who had $30 million guaranteed in mind — said it wouldn’t happen again. And I believe him.

Indications are Johnson’s not going to budge this time. I’ve heard it from too many sources to think otherwise. And after three straight Pro Bowl seasons and the most yardage of any back in the NFL during that time, it’s not hard to understand why.

Right now, the Titans can’t do anything about his deal. When the lockout is lifted, it’s going to be interesting to see if the Titans will budge this time around, because I don’t get the sense Johnson will.

If Wyatt’s projections turn out to be correct, then the Titans might as well break out a huge pros vs. cons list and make a decision about this situation once and for all. Because they can’t keep doing this dance with Johnson every offseason.

If there were one player to break the bank on, Johnson would be it. He’s far and away the Titans best player and the team will need him when they usher in the Jake Locker era either this season or next. Thirty million is a lot but it’s not like Johnson is in the twilight of his career. He’s 25 and barring injury, he has plenty of productive seasons ahead of him.

On the flip side, no team wants to set a precedent for allowing players to holdout in order to receive a new contract – even if it’s their best player. Plus, what happens the next time Johnson thinks he has outperformed his deal? Will he force the Titans’ hand again? If the team gives in now, what’s stopping Johnson from holding out again down the road if he wants even more? Besides, Johnson still has two years left on his current deal and he just received a $1.5 million raise last season. The Titans aren’t financially obligated to give him anything more than what he previously signed for.

Again, the Titans will eventually have to choose the lesser of two evils and make a decision once and for all. Either give into Johnson, forego the huge distraction that a holdout would cause and reap the benefits of having a happy CJ on the field, or stand firm, don’t award players for holding out and risk not having their best performer on the field come September. No matter how you slice it, Johnson is putting the Titans in a tough spot and I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make any decisions on this issue. But Tennessee will have to settle on something at some point.

As Wyatt points out in his report, this situation could get messy when training camp begins.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

One response to “Chris Johnson to holdout once lockout lifts?”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>