With the end of June marks an end of the OTAs for the Tennessee Titans and the end of the Chris Johnson contract saga until training camp opens July 31st. Chris has stirred up more anxiety with Titans fans since the 2004 and 2005 fire sale years. His repeated demands for a new contract have split Titans fans about fifty-fifty for and against him.
In my opinion, Chris going over two-thousand yards was a bright light in a disappointing season. Going into last year the Titans were favored to contended for a Super Bowl. A veteran team with twenty-one of twenty two starters back would be hungry to revenge its disappointing divisional round loss in the playoffs. Instead an 0-6 start to the season killed any hopes of making the playoffs. CJ's run at the NFL history books eased the pain of a dismal 8-8 season.
Chris has let it be known from his ESPN E-60 interview to his twitter postings he wants a new contract. But NFL history says the year following is not very kind to record yard rushers. Listed below is the five other two-thousand yard rushers. The year they accomplished the record and the following season. In fact, only Hall of Famer Barry Sanders has done over seventy percent of his record year production.
OJ Simpson 1973/2003 yards 1974/1125 yards
Eric Dickerson 1984/2105 yards 1985/1234 yards
Barry Sanders 1997/2053 yards 1998/1491 yards
Terrell Davis 1998/2008 yards 1999/ 67
Jamaal Lewis 2003/2066 yards 2004/1006
Chris Johnson 2009/2006 yards 2010 ??????
The next season all the record holders production was less. More defensive focus and injuries hold the numbers down. The Titans braintrust knows this and giving Chris a big new contract with huge guaranteed money is out of the question. Chris needs to report to camp on time. Then with his agent meet with the Titans to agree upon a new contract. If this seasons rushing totals exceed a percentage of last years performance. This is fair to both sides.
If Chris decides to holdout for a new contract, the Titans will still be a mediocre team. They will just be mediocre without him.