It helps to have to have a fairly big ego in the NFL and Chris Johnston has shown that he has one to compare to the best of them in demanding elite player wages as a running back. However he might just have a point given his contribution to the Titans in his 3 seasons with them. In his 47 games he has carried the ball 925 times and only fumbled 6 times which is impressive, and if you add to that 188 first downs and 34 TD’s. Add in his receiving stats and he has averaged 1868.7 yards per season overall and a total of 38 touch downs.
So whats his current reward – well heading into his fourth season his base salary is $800,000 which might bump up to around $2 million with incentives and bonuses. Now you can easily live on that, however when comparing him to other top running backs he is obviously lagging a little.
So what does he want? Well according to ESPN’s Christ Mortensen Johnson is seeking $39 million over the first three years, a figure putting him right up there with the leagues veteran superstars and make him by far the best paid running back.
Now obviously he is currently underpaid and his stats are impressive – especially given how the Titans have struggled of late, however placing him in the elite category would take a major leap of faith on Tennessee’s part especially given the was Albert Haynesworth panned out.
The problem with elite players is the fact they cant win games on their own and how many yards would Chris Johnston gain if there was no hard working Tight End blocking for him or an offensive line putting their bodies on the line to gain him a running lane. Like everything in life one man doesn’t make a team and paying him over the odds would set a precedent for the next round of negotiations and would possibly disgruntle the other Ten starters who’s job it is to make him look good either by blocking for him or handing him the ball.
Tennessee have a tough decision to make and the trade value currently available on Johnston must be making some in the hierarchy consider this option. The Titans need to decide if they are going to rebuild around Chris Johnston or through the draft.
Overall Chris Johnston is worth a big pay rise but the jury is still out as far as we are concerned as to whether he deserves elite player wages.