Why Chris Johnson’s Contract Dispute is Different

Chris Johnson (courtesy of Yardbarker.com)
Chris Johnson (courtesy of Yardbarker.com) /

In a day and age when we are used to athletes not honoring their current contracts and demanding higher and higher pay increases, the situation in Nashville relating to Chris Johnson is different.  Johnson feels he has no other choice than to hold out at this point.  The Titans feel they have no other choice but to let him at this point.  This is not good.

The 2010 season would be Johnsons third year of a five-year contract in which he is set to earn a base salary of $550k.  While I am sure that very few of you reading this article, if any, will make 550K this year and would be happy to have that kind of money, we can probably all see where the sixth player to ever rush of 2,000 yards in a season might like a pay raise! (Author’s note: While at this time of this article posting it does not look likely that I will be making $550k this year either, I am waiting to see how today’s Powerball numbers shake out before making an official determination).

Vic Carucci of NFL.com wrote an interesting article this morning that explores this situation.  It has been mentioned that one of Johnson’s backups, Alvin Pearman, is set to make $650k this year.  I think rather than including this piece of information in the Chris Johnson dilemma we should leave it out.  All it really tells us is that the Titans are paying Pearman too much money!

While it is true that the St Louis Rams gave Steven Jackson a five-year deal worth $48 million in 2008, I think this fact helps the Titans more than Chris Johnson.  Jackson is only two years into that deal and just had back surgery in April.  Jackson is a phenomenal player but only scored four touchdowns last year due to the Rams pathetic offense.  Maybe the Rams should have spread that money around and not had such a crappy team? The fact they spent all that money on one player clearly hurt the quality of their overall team.  The Titans can’t make that mistake.

The Titans know that they need to improve the terms of Johnson’s contract but they know there is no possible way they can give him what he wants.  Because of the NFL limiting the increase in players base salary to 30%, the Titan’s hands are tied.  The only possible way to give Johnson the kind of money he wants is to make the majority of the money guaranteed and give it to him up front.  That is not going to happen.

Titans’ fans can rest easy in the short-term.  Chris Johnson says he is working out on his own right now.  He did that last year and the results seemed pretty good.  The long-term looks pretty bleak if the situation is as it appears, that both sides want something the other side can’t give.

What do you think? Is there a possible agreement that will satisfy both parties?