Why there is kind of a deadline on CJ

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
4:10
PM ET
There is a big gulf between a team or a few of them being interested in trading for Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson and a trade actually happening.

Johnson
If the Titans can get a pick for him, that'd be great.

But it takes more than the Titans being willing to deal him and a team being willing to deal for him and the sides agreeing on compensation. (A fifth-rounder? A sixth? A sixth that could turn into a fifth?)

The team that would trade for him likely won't be willing to inherit base salaries of $8 million this year, $8 million in 2014 and $7 million in 2015.

They'd want permission from the Titans to talk to Joel Segal, Johnson’s agent, to negotiate a friendlier deal with Johnson.

Johnson would then agree to that contract with the Titans on the condition they trade that contract to the team in question.

All of that would require Johnson to move away from a very firm stance that he is not taking a paycut.

If he can force the Titans' hand and get released, he can then peddle his services to 31 other franchises. And that’s more appealing.

That’s a stronger stance on principle, and Johnson would be doing some serious backing down to negotiate down in order to facilitate a trade. (He should by the way -- it's time to acknowledge reality.)

Ruston Webster said Tuesday he’d like to get things resolved sooner rather than later, but that there is no ticking clock.

PFT has pointed out one thing that can create a deadline: April 7. That's the start date of the offseason program. If Johnson showed up and suffered a freak injury that cost him the season, the Titans would be on the hook for all $8 million.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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