For the remainder of this piece, I am going to insinuate that $550,000 is not a lot of money. I would like to take a second to recognize that this insinuation itself is asinine. I, along with 99.5% of this country, will never make $550,000 in a year. That being said, I also understand that gross financial figures in sports are so high they are nearly incomprehensible. But in sports, getting paid a half-a-million American dollars means that you are just good enough at what you do to be a professional.
Now that I got that out of the way.
The Titans have to be one of the most poorly run organizations in football. And if you don’t believe me, you can just look at the last two years. In 2008, the Titans looked like one of the only unbeatable teams in the NFL, with a great defense and an exceptionally strong running game. They were then embarrassed in the playoffs; and it was a loss that nearly took them ten months to recover from.
In those ten months, the following happened:
a) Jeff Fisher decided to let go of a few key defenders, namely Albert Haynesworth, who he thought the Titans could do without.
b) The Titans, who entered the season with Super Bowl expectations, started 0-6. Only two of these loses were to playoff opposition, while an additional loss was by 59 points to the New England Patriots.
c) Jeff Fisher refused to play Vince Young until the Titans were losing by 50 to the New England Patriots.
d) Jeff Fisher refused to start Vince Young in place of Kerry Collins until Week Eight, when Titans’ owner (and middle finger enthusiast ), Bud Adams, forced him to.
In one of the most puzzling seasons in NFL history, the Titans finished 8-8, missing the playoffs by a game. Who knows what would have happened if Young got a crack at the starting job earlier.
In Fisher’s defense, the Vince Young story could have ended with an 0-16 season; and given Young’s previous inconsistency, Fisher’s concerns were merited. But complacency is characteristic behavior of the Tennessee Titans.
It took the Titans a half-decade to find a suitable replacement for Eddie George, they are praying that Kenny Britt develops into a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and god knows when they will get another standout nose tackle. The Titans are renowned for being a team that sits on their hands and waits for things to develop.
So finally, something has developed for the Titans. His name is Chris Johnson. He is the best running back in football, and he is making $550,000 this season. Obviously, Johnson is holding out for a new contract which, one would assume, would pay him more than the league minimum.
Chris Johnson is the sixth player ever to rush for 2,000 in a season. He had more than 500 yards receiving, and he has fumbled the football four times in his entire NFL career. To boot, the Titans traded their other feature back, LenDale White, because Johnson was obviously the future of this team.
So what are the Titans doing? They’re sitting on their hands, and it has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. How can you justify not giving more money to the best running back in football? Did he not fit the blueprint? Did he become the best running back in football too quickly? Because, in case you were unsure, your future is completely in the hands of Chris Johnson.
And the hilarious thing is that there is a flock of analysts who also maintain that Johnson deserves more money. Usually the media comes down hard on players who holdout, but check out this quote from Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, “He has exceeded the money he is making, the Titans know it and everyone in the league knows it.”
The Jury has spoken, and the verdict is in. PAY CHRIS JOHNSON.