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Why It's Important To Extend Chris Johnson Long Term.

"You tryin' hard to maintain, then go ahead, 'cause I ain't mad at 'cha."
"You tryin' hard to maintain, then go ahead, 'cause I ain't mad at 'cha."

Yes, let's continue to flog the dead equine and talk about Chris Johnson and his request to be extended for large sums of money. Even though everyone's pretty much spoken out on the matter already, I think I'm going to try to give it a go. To me, signing Chris Johnson long-term doesn't only affect how much of a threat our running game, it also affects the development of Jake Locker.

I don' think that I need to tell many of you why I feel this way, but for those who may not understand where I'm coming from, I'll lay it out like this. Having a threat like Chris Johnson in the backfield is something special. You don't just find players like him every day. I have a feeling that ten years down the road, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson will be looked at as two of the greatest players of all time. You have arguments like Peyton v. Brady, Polamalu v. Reed, and Long v. Thomas. Johnson v. Peterson is right up there. We all know that can change in a split second. A twist of the knee or ankle can change the course of history forever. The NFL is littered with promising young careers like Ki-Jana Carter that were derailed before they had a chance to get going, but because of Chris Johnson's display of durability, I don't have many concerns about that either. The point is, CJ is a durable and proven tailback who is nearly guaranteed a spot in Canton (there I said it) and would be an excellent weapon to take the pressure off of Locker. 

However, it goes beyond just being a great runner, receiver, and blocker. The first thing you think of when you hear about Jake Locker is how accurate he is on the run. This team could set up as a dream for a quarterback who excels in play-action with CJ, Britt, Jared Cook, Nate Washington, Damian Williams et al. 

 Drafting Locker was a move that will make or break this franchise for the next five years or more if he succeeds. I want nothing, and I mean nothing getting in the way of his development if it can be helped. This is one of those things that absolutely can be. Before anyone says anything, Matt Hasselbeck is not imperative to his growth as a passer, so don't even go there. As for the amount we pay him? Let's compromise. He wants 30 mil, the consensus seems to be that 25 mil is the more realistic goal, meet halfway and give him 26.5-27 with a lot of performance based incentives for years 3-5. This isn't something that the team can afford to mess up. Say what you will about how a running back can't carry a team, but when I watched the 2008 divisional game, I know that Chris Johnson's injury cost us a chance to go to, and probably win, a Super Bowl. Think about that. A dirty play on our rookie running back cost us a Super Bowl. It's more complicated than just that, but that's the essence of it. I'd have to agree though that a terrific running back alone isn't enough, you need a quarterback, which exactly is why I'm of the belief that an extension is a very wise move. 

(edit: this makes three "CJ contract" posts in a row by three different authors. Is it now officially a mod war?)