Titans RB Chris Johnson Says “I Deserve To Be The Highest Paid Back”
Two seasons into the five-year deal running back Chris Johnson signed with the Titans as a rookie, most everyone would agree he’s already outperforming his contract.
That includes Johnson. And coming off a record 2009 season, he hasn’t shied away from dropping hints.
“Hopefully they’ll want to give me a new deal. I think I deserve to be the highest paid running back in the league, or even the highest paid offensive player besides the quarterback,’’ said Johnson, who scored the game-winning touchdown in Sunday night’s Pro Bowl.
“But it’s not like I am not going out in the media saying, ‘Pay me, I want a new deal now.’ I am just saying, if they were to pay me, I want that. Hopefully they want that, too.’’
Steven Jackson of the Rams became the highest-paid running back in the NFL when he signed a five-year, $48.5 million contract in 2008.
Last March, Maurice Jones-Drew agreed to a five-year, $31 million deal with the Jaguars that included $17.5 million in guarantees. Clinton Portis signed a six-year, $49.1 million contract with the Redskins in 2006.
Johnson outperformed all three backs this past season, a year after signing a rookie contract worth $12 million including $7 million guaranteed.
Johnson reached all the escalators in his contract on the way to rushing for 2,006 yards, earning a significant raise on the deal’s back end.
Johnson’s base salary in 2009 was $385,000. He’s scheduled to make $560,000 in 2010 and $800,000 in 2011. He’s currently scheduled to make $2.21 million in 2012, but that could increase to $2.5 million because of the escalators.
Johnson’s third-year salary of $560,000 seems like a bargain considering LenDale White made $535,000 in 2009, his third season, while rushing for 281 yards.
Johnson’s agent Joel Segal didn’t want to discuss contract numbers or the possibility of an extension, and neither did the Titans. Segal has represented a number of clients, however, who re-did deals long before they expired. There have been no talks with the Titans so far.
Said Segal: “If you look at it, you can make the determination” that Johnson deserves a new contract. “There will be a time for that, just not now.’’
Would Johnson consider holding out if the Titans seem disinterested? He’s already said he won’t attend offseason workouts in Nashville but plans to be there for offseason practices.
“I haven’t even thought about that,’’ Johnson said. “I am playing football. All that new deal stuff, that is between my agent and the Titans. I’ll leave that to them.’’