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 hiscareer
*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 season...it 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.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean contributed to this story.