Chris Johnson Is More Likely To Get A Unicorn Than A Big Raise In 2010

CJ2K has made a little noise this off-season about wanting to be paid on a level deserved by a 2,000 yard rusher. He's even stated that he feels like he should be the highest paid offensive player in the league. Of course, this has lead to talk of a potential hold-out. It's been my repeated stance that I don't care what CJ2k says about his pay scale so long as he gets into camp in a reasonable time frame.

A little further investigation has made it clear that no matter what the deposition of the franchise on the matter, CJ2K couldn't get that kind of raise anyways without first being cut (the only way to void his current contract). Why? It turns out that under the craziness of the uncapped year and the CBA's stipulations, a player whose contact started in the salary cap era can't get a raise of more than 30% in the uncapped year. Using the creativity the NFL is so known for, this is called the 30% rule.  Since CJ had a base salary of $385,000, though he made a few million in bonus/incentive money that isn't affected by this rule, he can't do better than the $555,000 he's scheduled to make this year. If I'm reading the rule right, he might not even get to make that much in base salary.

Unless I'm missing something that CJ2K's agent knows and we don't, there's no way the Titans could give him a monster raise this year even if they were inclined to do so. Even that is a remote possibility since his contract currently runs until 2012.

Now, as will always happen, teams are starting to find ways around the rule. The most notable example is the Saints' creation of a 'completion bonus', which rewards players for finishing their contract without holding out. The problem is that all of the money would still be years away, and the Titans have been very gun shy about back-loading contracts after the salary cap hell of the mid-2000's that helped get Floyd Reese fired.

Since he's locked in at such a discounted rate compared to his production, maybe CJ2K should change his name from Every Coach's Dream to Every GM's Dream.

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