Blog Entry

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

Posted on: August 23, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Chris Johnson wants to get paid. And by paid I don’t mean he simply wants to redo his rookie contract which grossly underpays him [he is scheduled to make $550,000 with escalators maxing 2011 out at 1.25 million]. Johnson isn’t even looking to get paid what the top player [Adrian Peterson, right around 10 million this season] at his position makes. Johnson wants to be paid like one of the top players in the NFL.  Every indication is that the Titan’s running back is seeking 50 million in guaranteed money with an annual salary of nearly 15 million dollars a year.

Johnson, is who will turn 26 years old at the start of this his 4<sup>th</sup> NFL season is without question one of the league’s top 3 running backs and one of the NFL’s most exciting players.  He is the face of the Titan’s franchise and basically the heart and soul of their offense.  He is definitely right to demand more money and despite having 2 years and all the leverage in their corner, I think the Titans should give him a bump and pay him like one of the top players at his position. 

That said, under no circumstance whatsoever should Bud Adams budge and pay CJ2K anything close to his demands.  Two reasons why. First, the least important position in the NFL is running back. Mike Shanahan proved that in Denverwhere guys like Terrell Davis [6<sup>th</sup> round pick] Olandis Gary [4<sup>th</sup> Round pick], and Mike Anderson [6<sup>th</sup> Round Pick] all rushed for 1,110 yard plus seasons while leadingDenver’s rushing attack. Denver in the 90s and early 00s changed the landscape of the NFL forever.  They proved you didn’t have to have a featured back to succeed. After Denver, teams realized that in a salary cap world, money that was previously spent on the “franchise” back was better used elsewhere. Teams that succeeded stopped spending money on the position.New England took that moto to the next level winning Super Bowls with guys like Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk at the position. 

Here is a list of the stating running backs in the for the winning Super Bowl team over the last 10 seasons and the round they were drafted.

2011 James Starks, 6<sup>th</sup> Round
2010 Pierre Thomas, Undrafted
2009 Willie Parker, Undrafted
2008 Brandon Jacobs, 4<sup>th</sup> Round
2007 Joseph Addai, 1<sup>st</sup> Round
2006 Willie Parker, undrafted
2005 Corey Dillion, 2<sup>nd</sup> Round
2004 Antowain Smith, 1<sup>st</sup> Round 
2003 Michael Pittman, 4<sup>th</sup> Round
2002 Antowain Smith, 1<sup>st</sup> Round 

Of these backs, two were taken in the first round while 5 were taken in the 4<sup>th</sup> round or later or not drafted at all.  More importantly for the two first round guys [and Corey Dillion the second round player] none cost their team more than 1.7 million in the year they won the Super Bowl.  Last season the highest paid running backs in the NFL were in no particular order were Maurice Jones-Drew, Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson.  None of their respective teams made the playoffs.  The bottom line is that money that should be spent on improving other areas that aren’t as deep as running back was wasted on these franchise backs.

The second reason the Titans shouldn’t cave in is because of the short shelf life of NFL running backs and the affect the pounding they take has on their careers.  It is no coincidence that as studies come out that demonstrate the decline of backs as they approach 30, more and more teams have gone with 2 back systems.  It is also no coincidence that the season after guys have had historic seasons they have either gotten hurt or dramatically declined in the following season. See, Terrell Davis [injured], Jamal Anderson [injured], Larry Johnson [injured], Clinton Portis [injured], Michael Turner [big decline in following season’s numbers and even Chris Johnson [700 less yards and nearly a yard per carry less] just to name a few.

Signing these guys to big, long term contracts is simply not good for business.  Chris Johnson is getting bad advice and trying to compare his demands to the recently signed contract of Larry Fitzgerald is simply not going to get him a new contract.  The Titan’s should learn from history and either trade him to someone that is willing to give him 8-10 million a year or offer him a more practical contract that wont handicap the team’s future.  However, as he is the face of the franchise, I’m guessing the Titans are still be willing to make him the highest paid back in league history, but the longer he waits the more likely it is that Bud Adams [heis clearly not happy with the situation]decided to dig his feet in and stay put.  In either case, under no circumstance should the Titans or any other team for that matter pay a running back a salary comparable to any of the league’s other positions.

As always you can email me at Triumphe@bellsouth.net and follow me on Twitter at mmt0315.  I’ve also recently started my own website which you can visit at www.mmtsportsblog.com there, you’ll find more frequent content, like fantasy football insight, random sports picks or anything that catches my attention in the world of sports that I feel like randomly talking about.

Category: NFL
Comments

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:22 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

No one should be upset with the business deal that C. Johnson negotiated for himself, 4years 53 million, 30M guaranteed.  If you take a look at what Tennessee has to offer this year, you too would tell Chis to get your money now before you are too beat up to command such a price.  The one thing that Johnson has in his favor is that his offensive line played well last year and will be there for him this year.

Tennessee offers Stevens at T.E. and K. Britt and Washington at the receivers, his backup at RB is Ringer who has very little experience and none of the explosiveness of C.J.  This year with the defense keying on him C.J. is going to have rough time equalling last years numbers.  I have always been impressed with Hasselbecks ability to command an offense and get the most out of what he has around him but even he has to have someone to throw at, to take some of the pressure off of CJ.  

Unless Tennessee makes a trade to get some more help for CJ, last year will have been the last time we see CJ exploding into the secondary and just running wild.  Teams will stack the box and beat CJ up in 2011, (he's not that big) teams will not be nervous about getting beat consistently by Britt and Washington, Tennessee is in trouble, by mid season the defense will have spent so much time on the field that they will feel like thay have already played a 16 game schedule.  6-10 is a good season for this team.    



Since: Jan 6, 2011
Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:01 am
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

 
Hometown,

Bro everything you said is right on but there is one huge point you missed & I mean one huge point on why you do pay CJ.  If you don't sign him there is no excitement on the roster without him, no one will go to the games knowing the owners not willing to put the best team on the field to give them the best chance to win


I think you must of skipped over the fact that I expcted the Titans to pay Chris Johnson in the end. That includes for the reason of trying to win on the field and win the hearts and minds of their fans. I do not see a trade comming.

 
so you might as well pay CJ his 100 million because before you know it 100 million dollar RB's are gonna be on more than 1/2 the teams in the league


This is an excellent point that I did not really think about when posting my comment. I completely agree with you there, it may make paying Johnson $100 million look like a bargain in three to five years. Good point Hometown.  
  

      

  

     



Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:26 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

Bro everything you said is right on but there is one huge point you missed & I mean one huge point on why you do pay CJ.  If you don't sign him there is no excitement on the roster without him, no one will go to the games knowing the owners not willing to put the best team on the field to give them the best chance to win, so you might as well pay CJ his 100 million because before you know it 100 million dollar RB's are gonna be on more than 1/2 the teams in the league.  CJ get your $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ while you can because once you start declining they will kick you to the curb & then you aren't getting paid.



Since: Jan 6, 2011
Posted on: August 29, 2011 9:05 am
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

Signing these guys to big, long term contracts is simply not good for business.  Chris Johnson is getting bad advice and trying to compare his demands to the recently signed contract of is simply not going to get him a new contract.  The Titan’s should learn from history and either trade him to someone that is willing to give him 8-10 million a year or offer him a more practical contract that wont handicap the team’s future.


He deserves more money than most, no doubt. Look what just happened to Arian Foster with the pulled hamstring. If Chris Johnson isn't in tip top shape this could easily happen to him and that certainly isn't "good for business" for the Titans. It should be interesting what the final number comes out to be but I bet the Titans will pay to keep him.    



Since: Nov 14, 2009
Posted on: August 27, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

I can see Johnson not wanting to stay at his current contract of $550,000 a year, considering his output the last few years. But asking for $15 million a year, and 50 million guaranteed, may be a bit too much. He needs to work out a deal that is comfortable to him, but boesn't break the bank. If he gets too greedy, it could be a deal-breaker. As much as I like watching Chris make those fantastic runs, and catches as well, he needs to be reasonable. And he wouldn't be helping himself out, if he alienates the rest of his team-mates getting his way. Hope he and the Titans can work this out soon. They need him in camp, and getting ready for the start of the season, which will be here in the blink of an eye! Good luck Titans.



Since: Aug 13, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

I agree with the majority of the article. Without a doubt the importance of the running game is highly dependent on the coaching philosophy. But that does not mean that the franchise is hurt by having a super star running back. In fact, most of these teams with profit substantially from having them just through the thrill of watching them! Just think, who would have watched the Detroit Lions if Barry Sanders wasn't around. In my opinion, the mind set has changed dramatically over the years. As the league continues to prosper, the stakeholders will want more of the share for their contributions in the game. Thus, although I think it is toomuch, a star running back only has around an 8 - 10 year career, and he must earn all of his profits during this time. This is alot different to other players who will last a lot longer and will receive their cut spread over that period. I would be interested in seeing the avergae earned salary of each skill position over their careers before I judge on this. o you know if something like this exists?



Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

No prob, it was good stuff. So it looks like Grant was guaranteed 2.5m, so much ado about nothing, suppose they could still cut him or trade, but I think he sticks.....they will both get some good time tonight, but it certainly looks to be another rbbc system that so many other teams have gone/are going with......they will miss bjax's blitz protection. Have a good one.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:16 am
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

Thanks for the kind words...During the season, Im going to bring back my weekly picks blog which seemed to be popular last year...

As for your comment, if the Packers and Grant are both smart, they'll bring him back with a restructured contract. There is such an abundance of good running backs these day that it is just not worth paying one guy crazy money.



Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: August 24, 2011 8:17 pm
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

Awesome article, I read Prisco first but sounds like I should be giving you all the credit, I noticed your post below it. It's almost as if the fantasy gm's are forcing gm's hands. Shiite, there is talk the pack will be cutting ryan grant to save some money, I can't see it happening nor do I think it should, and it will rub me wrong, especially after paying james jones, but money is money and winning is winning. I sure hope the pack stay classy and keep grant, but thanks for the great post and insight, you should be posting it all over profootballtalk.com. Have a great season.



Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: August 24, 2011 11:12 am
 

Chris Johnson and the dilema of paying top RBs

The life expectancy of a running back can change with one hit.  The season can be a blessing as in over 2000 yards or a bust.  The fans can will fickle and expect to see a product on the field.  It is understandable that Chris Johnson wants to be paid but he needs to understand that we can only stomach so much.  The team needs to understand that as well.  The whole Vincent Jackson debacle of last year left a bad taste in alot of fans mouth.  What would be nice if these players and owners understood is that their actions or "inaction" can lead to us switching the channel or not buying that ticket.  Chris Johnson is a respected back but don't push it, you are not time tested.  Good for him going back to the table.


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