Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CJ's future with Titans: Price vs Production

The Tennessee Titans are officially on the hunt for a new coach, after releasing longtime Oiler / Titan Mike Munchak last weekend. One of the big decisions facing the new coach is whether or not to keep running back Chris Johnson, and his 8 million dollar salary next season. The topic has been feverishly debated in Nashville for the past few seasons, and it seems pretty much split down the middle. But one thing's for sure, if you thought that CJ would play nice for his new regime then check out this direct quote.

“I feel like if they are not going to use me the way I am supposed to be used and let me be the horse, then I would rather them let me move on. Their money would be wasted on me,” Johnson told Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean. “I feel like if they are not going to use me right, let somebody get me that’s going to use me the right way.”

He went on to add....

“I want to help the team win. People say, ‘He is not worth the $10 million, he is not worth the $8 million.’ I feel like if you give me $8 million, let me earn it. At crucial times of the game, I shouldn’t be on the sideline watching.”

Well?...He does have a point. Mike Munchak's vision for the team was a two back rotation, with Johnson splitting equal carries with newly acquired Shonn Greene. Johnson was often times the man who drove the Titans down the field for a score, only to be replaced by Greene the following possession.

Can Johnson come off as a "me first" numbers guy? Sure...sometimes. But he does have the numbers to back it up.

Since being drafted by the Titans in 2008, all CJ has done is...

*Become the sixth back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 or more yards his first six seasons.
*Become the seventh back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards.
*Average 4.8 yards per carry...for his career.
*Break the NFL record for yards from scrimmage in a season with 2,509
*NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2009
*Averaging 1,420 combined yards and 8 td's a season for his career
*Never missed a start to injury in six seasons. Think about that. For an NFL rb...that's insane

When you sum it all up, it seems that CJ has lived up to his end of the deal. Now back to the new regime.

The new head coach should ask himself one simple question. Can I afford CJ and still put a competitive roster on the field in 2014? If the answer is no, then release CJ and spread that 8 million to other areas. If the answer is yes, then you obviously have to keep a player that's historically known to be durable, and productive. I even have to check myself when assessing CJ's 2K was a once in a lifetime event...just like it was for the six that did it before him. If you compare Johnson's numbers to the other rb's in the 2008 draft class (Felix Jones, Steven Jackson, ect...) it's laughable.

With so many uncertainties surrounding the Titans right now, there is one thing that we can absolutely count on to be fact.

CJ ain't taking a pay cut.

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Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean contributed to this story.


Cassie Clark said...

I say let him go! His stats don't justify the money..Just look at the Texans game. Dont quote me but he had like 127 yards, 4.7 ypc and one touch down. Against the worst team in the whole NFL. I think he has a God complex. After reading the quote you posted above, someone needs to remind him there aint no I in Team. Should we just get rid of everybody and just keep the Qb, the line and CJ? You have to be able to spread the ball around. hmm its a running play they gonna give it to that wont be hard to pick up on..seriously..You gotta keep em guessing not knowing who you are gonna go to next.
I think his career began and ended with getting the big contract. He aint hungry no more. Dont get me wrong I think if he goes to another team, lets say the Rams,he will have a break out season because he will have something to prove. Then back to just barely putting it in. Like he said.. HE was playing 100 cause they wasn't giving him the respect he thinks he deserves.

P.L. Colter said...

Great stuff Cassie! We'll see how this all plays out.