Hey CJ – Shut Up and Suit Up

Posted: August 26, 2011 in NFL
Tags: , , , ,

Should Chris Johnson make more money?


Does Chris Johnson deserve more money?

Absolutely not.

It isn’t as contradictory as it sounds.

In a business where pay is based on merit, the Tennessee Titans’ running back would be among the highest, if not the highest, paid players at his position. In a business where pay is based on union negotiation, Johnson gets what his contract says he gets. Johnson, entering his third NFL season, has two years remaining on his contract.

Johnson supporters point out he has outperformed his original deal. They also point out that in the NFL contracts are not guaranteed except for signing bonuses. Indeed, an NFL team can void a contract simply by releasing the player.

Understand all of this is negotiated. Both sides, owners and players, are well represented.

For every Chris Johnson who winds up being underpaid under union terms, there are far more players who are overpaid. JaMarcus Russell, for example, received more than $32 million from the Oakland Raiders and delivered nothing. Anyone demanding he return any of his money?

It’s a flawed system, but one both sides agreed to. Now Johnson needs to zip his lip and suit up for the Titans.

Johnson’s situation is even more complicated than most because he has a serious blind spot when it comes to the importance of his position. I have insisted for years the value of the individual running back has been greatly diminished. Football, especially in the NFL, is about throwing the ball and stopping teams from throwing the ball. Johnson is a great talent, no question about that, but his value is barely above that of a Pro Bowl offensive guard or punter. Teams find competent running backs in all kinds of ways. It also has become a position by committee.

When a strong team finds a special running back he can be the difference between making the playoffs and winning a ring, but teams don’t run to championships. They pass their way to titles. In a league with a few special teams, a few bad teams and a bunch of teams in the middle, Johnson’s Titans are near the bottom. They are in the rebuilding mode, not the contending mode.

If Johnson wants superstar money, he should have been a quarterback and wide receiver.


  1. Christopher Mead says:

    Lamm where I will disagree with you is this. Johnson has out-played his current contract (which you state) but he came back last year for pennies-on-the-dollar compared to other elite RB’s. With that being said I do not think CJ should earn $$ comparable to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning but he does deserve to be paid like an elite RB. Its now his time to get paid. The unfortunate part is CJ’s only option is to hold-out. He has no other choice – I’m sure if it was your son or you in CJ’s position with such a short amount of time to make a life-times worth of money you would be doing the same.

  2. The hell with Dave’s opinion; CJ held out, and got paid. What kind of advice is that—“you wanna get paid, you shoulda been a quarterback or wide receiver” Sometimes I think columnists’s job is to be a professional a**hole…PEACE.

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