Chris Johnson Holdout Speculation: Trade Value and Potential Destinations

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIJune 21, 2011

Chris Johnson Holdout Speculation: Trade Value and Potential Destinations

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL game at LP Field on December 9, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Running backs have the shortest shelf life of any position on the NFL field, considering the beating that their position takes.

    In light of the lockout, Chris Johnson has stated that he is likely to hold out for a new deal should the labor situation be resolved.

    Really, you can't blame Johnson for wanting to lock up as much money as possible before his performance inevitably goes downhill.

    Now, we assess the trade value and possible destinations for the Titan running back.

Addressing Fanbase Bias

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 19:  Kerry Collins #5 of the Tennessee Titans signs an autograph for a fan before a game against the Houston Texans at LP Field on December 19, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Too many fans have commented on Chris Johnson's holdout with a mixture of spite and jealousy—people don't want to see a man making exorbitant money without many skills other than athletic ability.

    I can understand why a fan would demonize the NFL for the money that it shells out to its players, but it is unnecessary and uncalled for when a fan calls for Johnson's head in regards to the running back's holdout.

    Johnson has put together a fine career thus far and with his peers making money around him, you can't blame him for feeling entitled to a new contract.

    He may not be the "hard-working American" who is a doctor or a teacher and "deserves" all of that money, but the Titan provides a service that is in high demand and shouldn't be blamed for collecting a paycheck.

The Titans Should Trade Johnson

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans is tackled by Jacob Lacey #27 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  the Colts won 23-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    At this point, the Titans are in the throes of a major rebuild on both sides of the football—the drafting of Jake Locker signals the start of a new era in Tennessee.

    The Titans have some talented players left, but only one real superstar with a trade value through the roof—that is Chris Johnson.

    Tennessee could net some good, high draft picks with which to further commit to the rebuilding process, and the team could also find a younger running back to grow with Locker.

    Keeping Johnson would be a counter-productive maneuver too focused on pleasing the fans—the number one mistake a rebuilding team can make.

Assessing Johnson's Trade Value

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    Denver Broncos running back Clinton Portis rushes for a gain at the RCA Dome, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 4, 2004 in an AFC wildcard playoff game.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Back in 2004, the Washington Redskins traded a big-time young cornerback named Champ Bailey and a second-round pick a young running back named Clinton Portis.

    Johnson has accomplished much more than Portis had at that time, having posted a 2,000 yard season already—other than that, though, the numbers are similar.

    Considering that Bailey was a four-time Pro Bowler at the time of the trade, let's consider that his value would be a first and second-rounder.

    It's a crude way to assess value, but a first-rounder and two second-rounders seems about right for "CJ2K".

Possible Destinations: New England Patriots

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs for a touchdown during NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The New England Patriots have a lot of draft picks to kick around for 2012, and with a need for a proven, playmaking running back, adding Chris Johnson to the fold would be crazy.

    Imagine putting one of the most explosive running backs into one of the most explosive passing offenses in the NFL—the Patriots could go 16-0 again.

    Sure the Patriots just drafted a few young running backs, and the team also has guys like Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the roster, but turning down Johnson would be just silly.

    Bill Belichick knows how to make good running backs out of bad ones—imagine him with this dynamic player.

Possible Destinations: New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 27:  Chris Johnson #28 of The Tennessee Titans in action against The New York Jetsduring their game on September 27, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Last year, Rex Ryan brought in LaDanian Tomlinson to be a pass-catching tailback and be the lightning to Shonn Greene's thunder.

    While the experiment, for the most part, worked out, the Jets are back to square one with Tomlinson on the way out and Greene still somewhat unproven.

    The whole dynamic of the Jet offense would become much different if the team brought in Johnson and the running back could be just the piece to get the Jets over the top and into the Super Bowl.

    We're talking about a team that has been one win away from the Super Bowl for two straight years—Johnson could get them there.

Possible Destinations: Indianapolis Colts

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans is tackled by Jacob Lacey #27 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  the Colts won 23-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It is unlikely that the Titans would willingly trade their star player inside of their division, but don't rule it out if the offer is right.

    The Colts have been searching for a game-breaker at running back ever since Edgerrin James left, and Joseph Addai/Donald Brown haven't exactly been that.

    Bringing in a 2,000-yard rusher would completely change everything for Indianapolis, as teams wouldn't sit so much on the pass like they did in 2010.

    The Colt window of opportunity is closing and Indianapolis needs to do something quickly to help Peyton Manning win one more Super Bowl.

Possible Destinations: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 15: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason NFL game at LP Field on August 15, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans beat the Buccaneers 27-20. (Photo by Jo
    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the rise and ready to make waves, but after Josh Freeman, it seems as though there is something missing offensively.

    LeGarrette Blount is a fine, young running back, but putting Chris Johnson in the fold would make this team lethal.

    Blount would benefit from taking less of a beating, becoming a situational, short-yardage back, while the Buccaneers could let Johnson do what he does best—run past everybody.

    Tampa Bay needs a player to get them ahead of New Orleans and Chris Johnson would do more than just that.

Possible Destinations: Dallas Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.   The Titans won 34-27.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Jerry Jones has tried to implement a scat back into his offense with Felix Jones and now DeMarco Murray.

    There is no guarantee that Murray will be a real factor, and acquiring Johnson would really set the Cowboys apart in the NFC East.

    Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are all big-time offensive performers—adding Chris Johnson to that mix would be straight-up lethal.

    The Cowboys finished disappointingly last season but adding a playmaker of Johnson's caliber could help this team make serious waves in 2011.

Possible Destinations: New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans breaks for a long run during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty I
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    We've already named one New York team on this list, yet the team across town wouldn't be a terrible fit, either.

    The Giants could stand to lose talented running back Ahmad Bradshaw in free agency this year and would be left with just Brandon Jacobs to pound the rock.

    Similar to the Buccaneer example, the Giants need another big offensive weapon to make serious noise in 2011.

    Chris Johnson is all that...and more.