According to this report from ESPN, NFL legend Marshall Faulk is encouraging the Chris Johnson Miracle Train to continue holding out for more money.
In the words of early-WWF Chris Jericho, someone should tell Marshall Faulk to pleeeeeease just shut…the hell…UP!
Seriously Marshall, shut up. Yes, Chris Johnson is holding out for more money. I understand that – he was by far the best running back in the NFL last season, and is due to make just $550,000 this season, less than almost every other unning back.
CJ28 deserves more cash, for certain. In the last year of his three year, $12M rookie contract, the Titans are probably open to the idea of an extension, because there’s no way you can risk losing a franchise-altering back like Johnson because you wouldn’t open up the pocketbook. This is the NFL, and everyone has to spend. But Faulk doesn’t think that will happen:
“Without a doubt, if more money is what he wants, he has to hold out,” Faulk, who is now an NFL Network analyst, told the newspaper. “You have to know who you are dealing with. The Titans aren’t known for caving in or paying, it doesn’t matter who you are. In my opinion, there is no way he can come in and play under the current contract.”
While I’d concede that Johnson pretty much can’t play with his current deal (without exposing himself to serious long-term financial risk should he be injured), I disagree that a hold out is necessary. It’s only early in the optional practice season for the NFL, so I’m remaining optimistic Johnson will at least show up at training camp.
How much money Johnson deserves is up for debate, too. Last year he ran for 500 yards more than the next best back in the league, and he set the single-season yards-from-scrimmage record for the NFL. He is, without question, the most dynamic running back in the league, one of the best receiving backs, and one of the top-10 most exciting players to watch in the league. Really, the Titans can’t afford to have him off the field for any amount of time, and neither can the NFL.
For comparison’s sake, the highest base salary in the league belonged to Darren Sproles ($6.62M), the median starting back had a base salary of about $2.5M, and the league’s second leading rusher (Steven Jackson) had a base salary of $5.5M. When you include signing bonuses, Maurice Jones Drew ($13.1M total compensation) and Brandon Jacobs ($11.5M total compensation) paced the league. You can expect Johnson’s deal to have a ludicrous signing bonus, meaning his compensation for the year will probably reach eight figures, with a base salary around $3.5-5M for 2010.
The unfortunate reality is that Johnson will probably hold out a while longer. He deserves more money, and the Titants will eventually pay it to him, so this all seems more a formality than a newsworthy hold out.
Still, Johnson doesn’t need sportscasters and icons of the sport encouraging him to do the exact thing most sportscasters chastise superstar players for doing (holding out). Chris Johnson will play for the Titans this season, and probably be present for a good chunk of training camp.
In the meantime, someone tell Marshall Faulk to shut up (just in case).