Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Updated: August 24, 11:42 AM ET
Chris Johnson to meet with Titans
ESPN.com news services
Holdout running back Chris Johnson arrived in Nashville Tuesday after posting on this Twitter page earlier in the day that he would discuss his contract demands with Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt in a meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
Johnson told The (Nashville) Tennessean that he wasn't sure if the meeting would result in a new deal. Agent Joel Segal declined comment to the newspaper.
"I want to be here. We'll see," Johnson told the Tennessean.
While the Titans publicly stated they are willing to make Johnson the highest-paid running back in the NFL, those close to the player believe he should be paid as one of the NFL's top playmakers -- not just as a running back, sources familiar with the situation have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
League sources have told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Johnson is seeking a deal that would pay him $39 million over the first three years, a $13 million average, which would place him in that elite status he is seeking beyond the running back market.
When the newspaper asked Johnson what would occur if the Titans wouldn't agree to his salary demands, he said he would reserve comment until after Wednesday's meeting.
"I have no answers today. I'll answer that tomorrow," he told the newspaper.
Johnson's holdout started when he didn't report to training camp with the rest of the Titans on July 29. Reinfeldt told The Associated Press on Aug. 11 that they were willing to make Johnson the highest-paid running back in league history.
Johnson, who is due to earn more than $1 million in 2011 in the fourth year of his five-year contract, tweeted "god is good" to Larry Fitzgerald on Saturday night after news broke about the Arizona receiver's deal worth up to $120 million (with nearly $50 million in guaranteed money).
Johnson and Segal probably shouldn't be counting on Bud Adams to speed up the process. The Titans' owner said Sunday that with two years left on the running back's contract, he backs Reinfeldt.
"I'm not gonna make any offer with the way he's acting. Life's too short," Adams told TitanInsider.
Tennessee rolled up 198 yards rushing in a 17-16 loss at St. Louis on Saturday night without Johnson. Rookie Jamie Harper started in place of Johnson's backup, Javon Ringer, and the fourth-round pick from Clemson ran 11 times for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Stafon Johnson added 68 yards rushing and the Titans outgained the Rams 198-44 on the ground.
Coach Mike Munchak said the Titans aren't going to entertain trade offers for Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back who has the most yards rushing of any NFL back the past three seasons. The coach also doesn't agree that the Titans picked up negotiating leverage with how well they ran the ball through some big holes without Johnson.
"I could easily stand here and say CJ would've scored on three of those," Munchak said. "I don't know if he would have, but with his speed coming through there ... We're lucky we had guys who stepped up."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.