September 1, 2011

Chris Johnson: Worth the Money

By - Brian Harrington

This started as a comment on my dear friend's post, until I noticed I had typed about four full paragraphs, so I decided to just write a separate article offering a counterpoint.

Johnson is almost 26. If he doesn't get this contract now, he'll be in his 30s by the time it comes around, so he might as well be 50. Not to mention the fact he's not a big, bruising runner, so he's more prone to injury. Pay the man now.

Photo by: Getty Images
Holdouts are risky business. It's the epitome of love / hate. You either side with the player or you side with the team. In talking to some fans around town, the vast majority have said just pay him. Get him on the field, he's proven his worth, so on and so forth. Now he's managed to live long enough to see himself become the villain.

The problem is, the Titans created this monster back in 2009 with the team sitting at 0-6, and having just been pounded by the Patriots 59-0. At that point, Tennessee decided to put all of their eggs in Chris Johnson's basket. After the New England game, CJ had only 596 yards rushing. In the next ten he had 1,410. Went on to break the NFL record for yards from scrimmage (2,509), lead the league in average yards per carry (5.6) and yards per game (125.4), and won NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

In 2010, things changed. Teams knew what the Titans were doing. Vince Young couldn't be relied upon and since Bud Adams was determined to get his money's worth and start Young, they had to go with their proven commodity: Chris Johnson. So teams hit the Titans with five and six man fronts. He still managed to rush for 1,364 yards and average 4.3 yards per carry. Add these to his rookie season where he ran for 1,228 yards and he has 4,598 yards in three seasons. He's also made the Pro Bowl all three years.

So let's see how history stacks up. Here are the first three year yard totals of some Hall of Fame running backs: Eric Dickerson - 5,147, Earl Campbell - 5,081, Barry Sanders - 4,322, Emmitt Smith - 4,213, Walter Payton - 3,921, Jim Brown - 3,798, and Marshall Faulk, who's yards from scrimmage record Johnson broke, 2,947 yards.

Photo by: John Russell
When talking NFL contracts, fans can be some of the most contradictory people on the planet. We'll complain about Chris Johnson wanting more money, even though he's outplayed his rookie contract, yet Michael Vick can get a monster payout doing virtually nothing and all is well. 

Everyone always wants to look at the big number. They only really important number is guaranteed money. Chris Johnson is worth $30 million guaranteed, because if the Titans don't pay it, someone else will.


  1. Well written. I think people in the Nashville area were for the most part okay with Johnson and his holdout till he went to Twitter yesterday. Now, all bets are off. No doubt the Titans are going to sign him, but now that he's a "bad guy," its goingto be hard for him to get his fans back. Till the first time he breaks a 50 yard run anyway.

  2. I think your missing the point dude. Its not a Chris Johnson isnt worth the money issue now as much as it is Chris Johnson is an ass for saying what he did on twitter and coming off like he thinks hes better then everyone else.

  3. They just resigned him. Happy now?

  4. Johnson has become the "villain" by his own hand my man. Should have to kept his mouth shut. Or, not tweeted. Whatever.

  5. Vick got paid for doing virtually nothing? Are you insane or what? He was only in the MVP race till the final few weeks of the season. I'm not even going to bother getting into the subject of CJ when you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

  6. 2 reasons people were hounding him:
    1. He was under contract. However, that contract was for an unproven running back. Now that he's more than proven himself, the Titans honored him for being better than they expected. They expected X, he's proven he's worth X times 9, but they still wanted to be paying him X. Ignorant on their part for not taking care of him sooner.
    2. I kept hearing people say, "athletes make too much money". In which case, I stopped listening to anything those morons said.

    My thoughts:
    If you honored your contract but then become the best in your field, you could certainly charge more, but we're dogging CJ for doing the same? Running backs have a short shelf life so he was just trying to get all the money he can upfront, because he won't be performing at his prime for much longer - maybe 4-5 years. If that were the case for me, where I could only make money for 8-10 years, you bet I'd be trying to stockpile what I could too.

  7. All the people hating on him now will be the first ones to praise him the first time he breaks a long run this season. Glad to see there are other people that have CJ's back. He deserves the money. Glad they paid him.

  8. Yeah I dont think the issue is so much him wanting to be paid as it is what he said on twitter. Comes off as a total jerk.

  9. I think what he meant when he said Vick did "virtually nothing" was that Vick put together one lousy solid season and he hits the lottery, while Johnson has been consistently putting up good numbers for several seasons and was having trouble getting paid. Of course, I'm just assuming that's what he meant, but since I've known the guy for the better half of a decade, it's probably a pretty safe assumption that I'm correct.

    While we're on the subject of Vick though, he doesn't deserve the contract he got either. But that's another argument for another day...

  10. People need to give Johnson a break. The man has been money the last 3 seasons, and he deserved to get a big payday. Glad they got the deal done and we'll be seeing him on the field week 1.

  11. I don't think anyone is worth 30 mill, but by far market value for athletes, Johnson is. As a Titans fan, I'm glad he's back. I'm a real fan too, not a fake one. :) Lol