Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Johnson unwilling to take a pay cut


Tennessee Titans star running back Chris Johnson is one of the least accountable players in the NFL, because he has always either implied or outright stated that his struggles are due to bad blocking in front of him. That said, his lack of accountability can also be described as “apt bluntness”, because he’s usually right when he defers the blame to the entire team or the line; it’s just that you’d like to see him avoid hanging others out to dry.

Johnson is a prime candidate for release this offseason due to his $8 million price tag next season, and the Titans will have to have some serious internal discussions regarding his future. However, the East Carolina product isn’t going to make things any easier for the Titans, as the Nashville Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt reports that Johnson has absolutely no interest in taking a paycut to remain with the Titans.

But the funny thing is that Johnson wants to stay with the Titans organization, and he also believes that the Titans will keep him. He’s not worried about being released, despite the report from the NFL Network earlier this month stating that this would be the case. Why? He still views himself as a high-level back.

With at least 50 rushing yards against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Chris Johnson will have run for at least 1,000 yards in each of his six seasons in the NFL. He’s 29, but he’s still going strong and hasn’t been struggling as much as people think. This will likely be the first season in which Johnson’s yards per carry average is under four, though, so it’s fair to wonder if he’s worth the price tag. Then again, the Titans don’t have too many options, and Johnson is their best playmaker.

I stated earlier this month that the Titans would be wise to keep him, but his $8 million price tag and unwillingness to take a paycut are definitely deterrents, especially since the Titans need to be worried about paying a franchise QB. The NFL Network also reported earlier this month that the Titans have interest in Jay Cutler, and the somewhat high-risk, high-reward QB would definitely command a large price tag.

I’m totally cool with Johnson’s unwillingness to take a paycut, but he needs to realize that the Titans are probably in a better position to pay him than anyone else. A lot of players like Johnson overrate their own market, and then realize too late that the free agent market doesn’t always reflect perceived (or even true) value.


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