Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs the ball during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
If you run a Google search for Chris Johnson, you will likely come up with a plethora of articles about cutting the once-stellar back. This has become the party line from analysts and many fans.
I understand the reasoning.
High Salary Cap Number
Johnson has a $10,000,000 cap number this year. That is the second-highest cap number for an NFL running back in 2014. The only RB with a larger cap number is a fellow-2,000 yard rusher Adrian Peterson.
Johnson struggled to top the 1,000 mark this season, and he had the lowest yards per carry (YPC) of his career at 3.9. While there are plenty of RBs that do not achieve 1,000 yards, many say that his slight decline in production makes him unworthy of such a high cap number.
Other issues are cited, but these two are the crux of the argument. How can an NFL team pay a running back that kind of money if he is no longer truly “elite”?
But what if they do? Fans can become so married to a specific personnel decision that it deeply affects them if things don’t go their way. Is there a reason to keep Johnson around at that high cap number? The following article will look at that possibility.
* Salary cap information gleaned from overthecap.com and stats are taken from profootballfocus.com