It’s very difficult to believe that the Tennessee Titans are going to do anything but cutting Chris Johnson from the team, which will make the talented running back a free agent, and the New York Jets the number one team in pursuit of his talent.
Johnson is due to make $8 million next season for the Titans, but the team obviously doesn’t want to pay him that much. There’s a chance of a trade, but Johnson can block that because he’ll make less money if he is traded, so by refusing to negotiate he can simply force the team’s hands and make happen what everyone seems to be sure will: Johnson becoming a free agent.
It’s unlikely that Johnson will make $8 million with anyone that picks him up after he’s released, but he has an agent that’s been quite busy in recent weeks – getting Michael Vick to sign with the Jets, connecting DeSean Jackson with the Redskins, and now Johnson. Are the New York Jets really interested, or simply a team thrown into the discussion so Johnson can make it seem like he has suitors willing to pay him $8 million a season, or anything remotely close to that?
The Jets seemed very interested in Johnson, hoping to improve their running back situation. They might have also stayed away from the DeSean Jackson sweepstakes by saving money to try and sign Johnson, if it comes down to some sort of bidding war with anyone else.
Johnson is a three-time Pro Bowler who is also a one-time All-Pro and the 2009 AP NFL offensive player of the year award recipient. He has been with the Titans since 2008, coming out of East Carolina as a first round pick, 24th overall.
He has run for over 1000 yards in each season, but since going for 2006 in 2009 he hasn’t gone for more than 1364, hitting “rock bottom” with an average of 3.9 yards per carry last season, finishing with 1077 yards. The Jets are hoping to pair him up with Chris Ivory, who is more of a bruiser in his running style, hoping to give Johnson more opportunities to break out for big runs, playing under a better offensive line than he had over the last couple of years.