When he struggled early on, it was completely reasonable to wonder if the Titans would want to guarantee more money for Chris Johnson.
But the running back has rebounded nicely and put together a quality season. He’s averaging 4.8 yards a carry and 82.8 yards a game.
On a team where other young playmakers haven’t panned out, CJ is a guy the team knows can make big plays. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean says the team has no plans to release Johnson before $9 million of his $10 million 2013 salary locks in as guaranteed.
It’s the right move, but it doesn’t come without concern.
Last year they faced a similar decision and allowed $8 million to lock in as guaranteed.
“I can still be the best back in this league,” Johnson said, per Wyatt. “I put it on film.”
As he matures, hopefully he won’t provide concerns that he will let up after being ensured of more big dollars. While having big personal goals can be admirable, he has increasingly come across as selfish and worried more about his performance than the team's.
On a team lacking leadership, he’s not going to transform into a key cog in that department.
The Titans need to do some major work on their offensive line. Johnson should be a beneficiary of that, and if he runs better and more consistently behind a reshaped group, he’s capable of leading them to more wins.