- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our Chris Johnson update:
The Titans are willing to make him the highest-paid running back in the league, but we don’t know the context of that and it can be framed many different ways. Is it about guarantees? Is it about average?
Johnson wants to be one of the highest paid non-quarterbacks in the league.
Early on, from the way the Jaguars and Marcedes Lewis sorted things out, I proposed a negotiating compromise where Johnson would join the team but not practice while a deal was worked out. Recently the Titans publicly proposed the same.
But Jason Cole has swayed me on this and I now see why Johnson wouldn’t go for it.
Holding out from the start is one thing, but once you are in and around the guys, things change.
Leaving then if things break down feels like abandonment of the team and is perceived differently. See the reaction to Cortland Finnegan's recent, one-day departure. Recall what happened when Samari Rolle briefly left in a similar situation years ago.
The unnamed agent Cole spoke to spells that out nicely.
Moving onward, I believe the Titans should start to let go of the idea that Johnson will come in to kick start negotiations. Instead they should go ahead and send Joel Segal their initial offer, and ask for his counter.
As for the other big piece of Cole's column, I don’t agree with him on Finnegan.
The idea that Finnegan was mistreated by the Titans after his contract demands and walkout is silly to me -- it’s more than offset by the fact that he simply hasn’t played very well the past two seasons.
Want to be treated like royalty? Play like royalty.
That they won’t give him $9 million a year is not being cheap or short-sighted. It’s being prudent.
Finnegan is not the Titans’ second-best player to Johnson. Michael Roos sits atop the list of candidates for that title.