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
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
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.