Chris Johnson isn’t satisfied with his role with the Titans over the last few seasons, and he’s ready to walk if things don’t change.
Johnson, 28, hasn’t quite produced at the same level since signing a four-year extension with the Titans in 2011. The high-priced running back, who is scheduled to make $8 million next season, is frustrated by his diminished production over the last few seasons, blaming his struggles on a lack of touches. The aging back is now threatening to leave town if the Titans’ next head coach doesn’t change that, according to The Tennesseean.
“I feel like if they are not going to use me the way I am supposed to be used and let me be the horse, then I would rather them let me move on. Their money would be wasted on me,” Johnson said. “I feel like if they are not going to use me right, let somebody get me that’s going to use me the right way.”
Johnson isn’t exactly CJ2K anymore — in fact, he’s barely CJ1K. The All-Pro back has barely reached the 1,000-yard plateau in two of three seasons since signing his big-money extension, and he had arguably his worst season in 2013, managing just 1,077 yards (second-lowest total in his career) and a career-worst 3.9 yards per carry.
While Johnson is no longer averaging the 300-plus carries per season he did during his two most productive seasons (2009 and 2010) with the Titans, he doesn’t have much to complain about. He has seen an uptick in touches over the last two seasons, including 279 rushes in 2013 (third most of his career), and the Titans’ offense — like much of the rest of the NFL — has moved toward a more pass-oriented attack in recent years.
“I want to help the team win,” Johnson said. “People say, ‘He is not worth the $10 million. He is not worth the $8 million.’ I feel like if you give me $8 million, let me earn it. At crucial times of the game, I shouldn’t be on the sideline watching.”
The Titans fired head coach Mike Munchak over the weekend and have already begun a coaching search. However, Johnson might not even be around to bicker with the new coach about his role if the Titans deem his $10 million cap figure a bit too much and cut ties with him this offseason.