There is no doubt that Chris Johnson is most likely the "elite" of the elite running backs in the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans running back has given opponents nightmares not seen since the days of Barry Sanders; however, does this distinguished back have the right to use these talents as ransom?
I believe that Chris Johnson should be paid, and paid well. The debate has nothing to do with talent and productivity but instead it is focused on the perception of worth. Johnson feels he deserves to be rewarded with pay scales that are on par with top playmakers in the NFL while owners feel it should be relative to his position.
I wholeheartedly feel that underlying this stalemate are the stubborn egos of both parties (Johnson and Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt) and the uneasy position of head coach Mike Munchak.
As the previous lockout has reminded us, the NFL is a business first, and entertainment second.
Chris Johnson has more to lose than anyone else in this ongoing drama between himself and the team.
In this position, Johnson should be paid handsomely; however, he should be approaching the situation with the team's best interests in mind if he truly isn't just all about the money.
Johnson is missing valuable time to get his body ready for the regular season, and despite what is filtered out into the media, to repair any damage that may be happening between his teammates.
The public perspective is very strange as one minute you are the hero and the next you can become the goat. Johnson risks losing bargaining power only if there is no acceptable temporary replacement in the ground game and the team falters early on.
Currently, there are adequate support players in the likes of Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper. Although not in the same class as Johnson, with improvements to other areas of the team they easily supply a good enough running attack to balance the offense.
In the same respect the Titans front office risks alienating more players and fans by keeping a hard-nosed approach by refusing to have a serious deliberation with Johnson. All meetings up to this point have been for face value, in my opinion, for both sides.
If they truly wanted to work something out, both sides would concede to certain terms and dollar amounts. It's all about business, and both parties involved want to be in control.
The disgruntled employee versus the penny-pinching bosses. A classic American drama that is played out everywhere in business.
The unfortunate part of it is where you draw the line regarding acceptable behavior. Is a player, the employee, morally correct in holding his talent as hostage? Equally, is it acceptable for the general manager to refuse to be realistic in the respect of compensation?
I think Tennessee Titans fans are in for a long, bitter road, as this could turn out resembling the Vincent Jackson episode in San Diego. I don't see Johnson signing or playing any time in the near future unless someone comes to their senses.
There is a strong possibility that the only agreement in Tennessee is that of disagreement.