Tennessee Titans  

 

Titans, CJ2K meet, but sides remain far apart on new deal

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Tennessee Titans and Chris Johnson met for several hours Wednesday, but they came no closer to ending the contract stalemate that has led to the running back's holdout, league sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.

Ringer on the rise
Titans RB Javon Ringer
will be ready to run straight into the starting lineup if the Chris Johnson contract situation isn't resolved, one of our experts pointed out in Instant Debate. More ...

La Canfora reported the two sides have no plans to meet again at this time, but Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt later said he expects to talk with the running back's agent in the "next day or so."

Reinfeldt and Vin Marino, the Titans' vice president of football administration, met Wednesday morning with Johnson and his agent, Joel Segal. Reinfeldt said in a statement he believed it was important for the sides to meet face to face.

"I'm not sure there was any progress made, but I do think it was beneficial to meet," Reinfeldt said. "We were able to discuss several different elements of a potential contract, but there was no agreement on those topics. I do expect to have another conversation with Joel in the next day or so to discuss things further."

Neither Johnson nor his agent immediately responded to messages from The Associated Press. But The Tennessean reported that Johnson flew home to Orlando, Fla.

The Titans and Johnson have been far apart on an extension, even though team officials have said they are ready to make the three-time Pro Bowl pick the highest-paid running back in NFL history. Segal was the first person the Titans called when the lockout ended.

Johnson has said he will not report until he receives a new deal, even with two years left on his contract and having missed all of the Titans' camp, which wrapped Monday.

Johnson leads the NFL in rushing yards over the past three seasons and has said he wants at least $30 million in guaranteed money. Each time a free agent has signed a high-priced contract since the end of the NFL lockout only seems to bolster his pay demands.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Since entering the league in 2008, Chris Johnson has been the league's most productive running back.
NFL's rushing leaders (since 2008)
Player
Team
Yards
2011 contract
4,598
$0.8 million
4,441
$10.7 million
Michael Turner
3,941
$5.0 million
3,699
$7.2 million

"CJ's the best back in the game," Titans fullback Ahmard Hall said. "He makes everybody's job that much more easier. You go out there, you just have to get in front of your guy, get a good connection with your guy, and he's gone. Everybody's seen it around the nation."

Titans coach Mike Munchak said the fact Johnson came to town is a good sign that they're at least headed in the right direction.

"I know he wants to get this thing resolved," Munchak said. "I know he wants to play this year. I don't think he wants to take the chance of missing games early so you hope his thinking is the same as ours."

Asked about the money Johnson reportedly wants, Munchak said the numbers involved in contracts today shock him. But he said that's why players went on strike in 1987 to get free agency.

"CJ, I'm sure he's trying to get what he thinks he deserves ... Hopefully, it'll get worked out real soon," Munchak said.

The Titans open the season Sept. 11 at Jacksonville, and Munchak said when a deal is done could affect Johnson's workload. If the stalemate threatens to continue into the season, the Titans likely will need to add a veteran running back.

Javon Ringer has shown flashes while backing up Johnson the past two seasons, but the 2009 fifth-round draft pick has just 59 carries for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also missed the past week with a bruised hip.

Rookie Jamie Harper has looked very good this preseason, especially last weekend when he started at St. Louis. The fourth-round pick out of Clemson currently leads the team with 110 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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