- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The deal Jim Wyatt is reporting the Titans have struck with Chris Johnson looks like a win for Johnson. But the four years and $53.5 million -- including $30 million guaranteed -- come stacked on top of the two remaining years on his contract, not instead of them.
I’ve said for some time I thought he’d have a hard time passing on that level of guarantee. The average of over $13 million a year for the new years is what Johnson sought. But we need to see the shape of things to know how sturdy that number is, because averages are often made to look good for the sake of headlines.
The guarantee is beyond what I thought the Titans would be willing to pay. We do not know when or how it will be paid. But in any form and on any schedule, they deserve credit for making it happen.
Johnson will be part of the game plan for the Titans' Sept. 11 opener in Jacksonville. Odds are, however, that they will divide up the carries a bit more than usual early on. Which means Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper will still figure into the plan.
What changed to get this done? We don’t know and we might not find out. I suspect the Titans were determined to keep the two remaining years of the existing contract, and the very back of this new deal may not be money he sees.
Back on Aug. 7, I sketched out a very basic five-year, $55 million contract with $31 million guaranteed. Seems that turned out to be a reasonable stab at what ultimately happened.