by Matt Bowen
June 20, 02011
We still have some time until we see the NFL lockout lifted and the opening of training camps around the league. But, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Titans RB Chris Johnson could start the season as a holdout if he doesn’t see a new contract from the club.
However, the key with Johnson—or any player at the RB position in this league—is determining their value and long-term production. A physical position that will wear players down.
ICONOnce the NFL lockout is lifted, is it time for the Titans to put together a new deal for Chris Johnson?
I saw it often during my career with running backs. They lose that burst; power on contact and their overall production begins to decline—quickly.
But if I am the Titans, I have to start putting a plan together for Johnson.
Forget the $1.5-million dollar raise he got last season or his current contract (which he has outplayed). Because I see a RB in the prime of his career that might be the most dangerous player in the NFL with the ball in his hands.
Does that warrant a massive deal, one that makes him the highest paid RB in the league? It has to be close from my perspective, as we are talking about a player that can take a basic running scheme (out of any playbook) and flip the field.
We don't need to get into detailed Xs and Os with the Titans RB when breaking down football on the chalkboard. Put the ball in his hands and let him go to work for your offense. Watch as he presses the edge of the defense, cuts back and gets vertically up the field.
Another aspect to think about here is the Tennessee offense. We could see rookie Jake Locker under center to start the season (depending on the Titans free agent plans). And just like I mentioned last week with Cedric Benson in Cincy, you run the ball when you have a young and inexperienced player at QB to sustain drives.
Again, this is just the beginning of the Johnson talk in Tennessee, because until we have a new CBA in place, nothing can go down in terms of contracts for veteran players. However, Johnson needs to be there when camp eventually starts. Holdouts can really disrupt the flow of training camp on the field and in the locker room.
And when you have a player as talented and explosive as Chris Johnson, you want him in uniform and ready to run.
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