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.