When will the Tennessee Titans show CJ the money?

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In a topsy-turvy season filled with high and lows, there was one constant for the Tennessee Titans in 2009: the dominating performance by Every Coach’s Dream a.k.a. Chris Johnson.

CJ was a consistent ray of light as he trotted past the 2,000 yard rushing mark in ’09. In only two seasons in the NFL, he’s been everything the Titans dreamed and envisioned when they shocked the world (outside of Frank Wycheck) by selecting him with pick #24 in the 2008 draft.

With two years served in a modest $12 million rookie contract, CJ has hopes of becoming the league’s highest paid-back in the not-so-distant future.

When will the typically frugal Titan front office step up and reward Johnson with the new contract he probably deserves?

There is no question, IMO, that Chris Johnson is well-deserving of a raise from his current rookie deal. He’s been the team’s best player on offense in only two years in the league and last year, he emerged as one of the premier players in the game with his record-breaking performance.

According to The Tennessean, there have been no conversations between CJ, his agent Joel Segal and the Titans at this point. CJ himself insisted that despite his desire to strike a brand-spanking new deal worth millions, he’s not going to allow his financial goals to interfere with his play (or presence) on the field.

Normally, the mere notion of extending a player’s deal a couple of years before its completion is something I wouldn’t endorse. However, it’s hard not to make an exception to that thought-process in regards to one of the game’s best players: CJ has out-performed and then some a humble rookie deal that was appropriate for a guy who was selected in the bottom-tier of the first round but not-so appropriate for the league’s premier offensive playmaker.

With free agency and the craziness associated with an uncapped year probably looming on the horizon, the Titans will have plenty on their plates over the next couple of months. Due to this, the priority of making CJ one of the league’s richest players will probably be put on the proverbial backburner, at least for now.

However, the team has a recent history of locking up the guys who they want to stick around for the long-term such as Cortland Finnegan, Michael Roos and “Big Country” Stewart, players that were rewarded with new deals prior to becoming free agents.

Of course, the team also has a recent history of not locking up a dominant player and allowing him to depart as a free agent (cough, cough Albert Haynesworth) but considering CJ’s youthful age, I’d be utterly shocked if the “Big Al” situation re-emerged in the form of Johnson departing for financially greener pastures.

So in my opinion, it’s not a matter of if but when the Titans will pony up a rich new contract for Chris Johnson. Any guesses as to when that time will arrive? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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4 Responses to “When will the Tennessee Titans show CJ the money?”

  1. Seth Leonard Says:

    I wish more players would just be like Chipper Jones and take a fair salary to stay somewhere that really appreciates them. That said, I also hope that the front office does whatever necessary to keep CJ around.

    With Haynesworth there was a sense that losing him would ruin the defense and cause us to lose more games. Whatever the legitimacy of that claim, its perfectly clear that if the team loses CJ2K there will be at least as much detriment.

    Good to see Total Titans is surviving and thriving over here. Y’all can always count on my readership.

  2. Gemma Says:

    I think it’s an indictment of how out of touch with reality and the life of its fans the NFL is, that the word “modest” can be used alongside “$12 million salary” without anyone missing a beat!

  3. Drexel Perry Says:

    As always, thanks for dropping by and providing your thoughts guys.

    We value your readership and hope that you will continue to make this place a source for your Titans’ fix.

  4. Scott Says:

    I am a bit torn on this issue. He signed a five year contract that still has three years left on it. He is, however, proving that he is the best RB in the league.

    I think that discussions about a new contract should start during this coming season and then, assuming he has another monster or near-monster year, the Titans should give him a significant pay raise. I don’t think a guy, even one as talented as CJ, should have his salary re-adjusted after he has one or two great years. But this is professional sports, and if he can demonstrate that he can consistently produce eye-popping numbers (3 years in a row) that place him at the very top of his position, he should be paid accordingly. I am hopeful that the Titans management will recognize this and after three years into his rookie contract, they can agree to replace it with a new 5 year contract that pays him what he is worth to the team.

    The lifespan of a running back in this league is short, compared to other positions, and the Titans offence appears content to rely heavily on CJ’s playmaking ability. His career might be shorter because of that. In these circumstances, it is reasonable for CJ to want more money and it is reasonable for the Titans to pay the man – but I think they should wait until after one more season.

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