Chris Johnson's time in Tennessee will be mostly defined by one unbelievable season, a huge contract after a bitter holdout and a lot of disappointment after that.
Johnson was released by the Titans after six seasons. Even though the team had this planned months ago, considering they all but said it at the combine, it makes you wonder if waiting a month into free agency to cut him was done out of spite.
The #Titans informed RB Chris Johnson that he will be released today.— Tennessee Titans (@TennesseeTitans) April 4, 2014
Now Johnson is on the market after most teams in need of a running back have filled that spot, or spent cap room on other positions. He'll have a tough time finding a decent deal in free agency. If the Titans wanted to stick it to Johnson on his way out the door, they did a good job.
Johnson was far from bad for the Titans. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards every season for Tennessee, and last season was the first time his average dipped below 4 yards per carry, when he averaged 3.9. The problem is his 2009 season set the bar impossibly high.
Johnson's 2009 season is one of the greatest of all time. He rushed for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns, and added 503 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He broke off long play after long play, using his blazing speed to consistently outrun defenders, which you don't see often in the NFL. He was amazing.
He never rushed for more than 1,364 yards in a season again. He was a good, solid back (albeit inconsistent and frustrating) but was never the 2009 "CJ2K" guy again.
Even though he's not that dynamic player anymore, he can still help someone. The Jets immediately pop to mind. The Cowboys and Giants have also shown interest, according to Fox Sports 1. Even though teams have figured out their running back situation already, Johnson is still one of the few backs who can still break open a game with one run. He'll find a job somewhere.
As for Tennessee, the $53.5 million contract in 2011 after Johnson's holdout didn't pay off. But the Titans will always have the memories of that 2009 campaign.
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