NFL’s worst contract: Clayton says CJ

October, 25, 2012
10/25/12
11:58
AM ET
As part of a broader look at the worst contracts in sports, ESPN.com’s John Clayton pieced together a top 10 list of the league’s worst.

And Tennessee running back Chris Johnson grabbed the No. 1 spot.

Writes Clayton:
  • Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (six years, $80.96 million): This might be tough to justify after Johnson's 195-yard effort against Buffalo, but the Bills' defense has been making a lot of money for opposing players. Before Sunday's game, Johnson averaged 50.2 yards over the first six weeks. But in the first year of Johnson's contract, CJ2K was CJ1K, rushing for 1,047 yards and averaging a modest 4.0 yards per carry. Johnson's salary goes from $8 million to $10 million next year. But in a quarterback-driven league, it's tough to pay a running back like a quarterback unless he's among the league leaders.
I endorsed Johnson's new deal before the 2011 season, but have regrets about it now. At best he's a hot and cold, hit or miss back. For the rate he got, and for how he sold himself as a "playmaker" who is more than a running back, the production has not matched up.

Anyone else from the AFC South on the list? I’ll let you guess before heading to the story.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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