There has been a lot of back and forth in the comments in recent days about Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson and whether or not he will hold out. For the record, CJ has not said to this point that he will hold out. In fact, the only thing he has said is that he plans on being in training camp, but CJ did make it perfectly clear that he would not come to camp again under his current deal after the money was moved up before camp last season.
Johnson has clearly outplayed his rookie deal, but that doesn't mean the Titans are under any obligation to give him a new deal if they don't think it is in their best interest. He signed that deal, and the Titans can force him to honor it if they so desire.
I love it when people say, "Just pay him." What does that even mean? I think we all want CJ to be a Titan for at least the next five years, but this team has to be smart about who they give money and when. It is never as simple as "just pay him."
The other thing that we have to take into account here is the lifespan of a running back in the NFL. My best guess would be that Johnson has five dominant years left in him. The front office has to be very careful how many years they give CJ and how the money is structured to make sure that they do not hurt the team in five years.
So it is never just as simple as "Just pay him."I really hope CJ doesn't hold out because the Titans need him to be any good at all in 2011. I don't think the '11 version of the Titans is going to be a playoff contender, but they will be really boring to even watch if Johnson isn't on the field.
Plus, just as a personal feeling, I don't like it when guys put money ahead of what is best for the team. I guess you could say I am old school as far as that is concerned. Say what you want, but CJ holding out would mean that he is putting his money ahead of the success of the team.
As I said in this post earlier this week, I hope the Titans offer him a 5-year deal that includes a lot of guaranteed money. I would hope the deal would include a big signing bonus, big guaranteed salaries for the first three years, and small salaries the last two with a lot of incentives. That ensures that he gets his money, he gets it when he is the most productive, and it doesn't hurt the Titans with the cap if his production falls off drastically in years four and/or five.