September 01, 2011
All is well in Tennessee — Chris Johnson's holdout is officially over. As first reported by Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean, the star running back has agreed to a four-year, $53.5 million contract extension with $30 million guaranteed.
The deal puts Johnson in the elite category he preferred, and Wyatt was the first with the terms: $13.375 million per year in the new four years of the contract, and $9.21 million per year over the life of the deal (including the two remaining years left on Johnson's rookie contract).
Negations between Johnson and the Titans had intensified over the last week after a seeming impasse in which Johnson wouldn't visit the facility until he received an offer that was in his ballpark.
The Titans responded by saying that if Johnson and his representatives came in to negotiate, they would make him the NFL's highest-paid running back. Johnson preferred to be paid like one of the league's best players, regardless of position.
Tennessee's first-round pick in 2008, Johnson ran for 2,006 yards and gained 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009 and followed up that campaign with a great 2010 — 1,364 rushing yards and 1,609 yards from scrimmage. He has never gained less than 1,228 rushing yards in a season, and he did that in his rookie year.
With the team's quarterback situation very much under construction — reps will most likely be split between veteran Matt Hasselbeck(notes) and rookie Jake Locker(notes) through the 2011 season — Johnson will be relied upon more than ever, as new head coach Mike Munchak tries to get a rebuild going.
Johnson had been set to earn an $800,000 base salary in 2011, with a bump to $2.21 million in 2012 in the last year of a rookie deal that was slightly expanded after his explosive second year. The extension has him contracted with the Titans through the 2016 season.
On Wednesday, Johnson had a little Twitter flap with some of his "fake fans," but we're assuming that everyone's a lot happier now.
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