Nashville, we have a problem. Chris Johnson wants to be paid money similar to a top-10 player in the NFL. Let’s concede that he is, in fact, the top running back in the NFL. That doesn’t make him a top-10 player. To get to Johnson, you would have to get through the top quarterbacks, the top defensive ends, the top left tackle’s and then a few wide receivers.
Off the top of my head, here are 10 players I would draft before Johnson if every play went into a draft.
1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning (he doesn’t need a neck to play well)
3. Drew Brees
4. Philip Rivers
5. Aaron Rodgers
6. Matt Schaub
7. Matthew Stafford
8. Sam Bradford
9. Eli Manning
10. Larry Fitzgerald
Keep in mind, there is no order to this list. Just 10 players I would take before Johnson. I can make that list much longer if need be. There is absolutely no question in my mind that Johnson is one of the top playmaker’s in the NFL, but as a runningback that probably has 4 good years left, he isn’t worth more money than Drew Brees. Johnson wants $13 million a year.
Drew Brees’ Contract, per Rotoworld:
2011: $7,393,500, 2012: Free Agent
Did you know Brees’ contract was so small? Did you know he’s entering the final year? If anybody should be holding out, it’s the former Super Bowl MVP. As a quarterback, Brees affects the game much more than Johnson, and that’s why Brees deserves more money. There is no question that Johnson deserves a large, record-breaking contract. The problem is that he wants far too much. The Titans will be fine with Ringer and Harper. I say trade Johnson for a King’s ransom in draft picks. Set this team up for years of success and let another team pay him a ridiculous amount of money. Winning cures every football team, as long as it’s your team winning. If the team wins a Super Bowl in 3 years after trading Johnson this year, do you think people will care who he plays for? No. Fans want a winner, Johnson is a winner but he doesn’t guarantee the team wins. many solid players from draft picks puts the Titans in a much better position to win than one superstar player.
GM Mike Reinfeldt’s back is against the wall on this one. How he handles this situation will be key to the rest of his career, for he will be heavily judged by it for the rest of his career. In 2010, it was popular to defend then Florida Gator Tim Tebow and now it’s popular to mention how he will fail. Right now, it’s popular to state why the Titans should pay Chris Johnson. When the Titans are in salary cap trouble in a few years, it will be popular to mention how the signing was bad. He’s really all the Titans have and they shouldn’t make a desperate move to prove it financially. Give him a great offer to make him the highest paid running back and when he declines, trade him.