Johnson expects contract negotiations to begin in September

Titans running back Chris Johnson still wants to be the highest-paid offensive player in the NFL, he told *The Tennessean* on Friday.

"Basically I have to come in here and have a great year and get my history deal next year," Johnson said.

The two-time Pro Bowl pick reported to Titans training camp July 31 after he received a $1.5 million raise -- well short of his desire for $30 million guaranteed.

"I felt like I deserved it this year, but ... I can say it won't happen again," Johnson said. "This is the last time without me having a long-term deal. It's a must."

Johnson is set to receive base salaries of $800,000 in 2011 and $960,000 in 2012. The Titans informed Johnson's agent, Joel Segal, that contract negotiations would begin in September, according to the running back.

"A couple of games into the season," Johnson said.

Johnson must wait until July 22, 2011 -- one year after he signed his recent pay increase -- to sign a new contract, according to NFL rules.

Johnson skipped all of the Titans' organized team activities and minicamp this offseason to show unhappiness with his five-year, $12 million contract after he led the league with 2,006 rushing yards last season and was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

"I feel like a lot of teams around the league would be willing to pay me, but I want to be here," Johnson said. "And I feel like the way we worked it out for me to come this year, they pretty much know already I should have a deal next year. I know there is nothing I can do now. I just have to wait 'til next year."

Titans officials insisted this offseason that Johnson was under contract for three more years and that rules limiting pay hikes to 30 percent in the NFL's labor agreement made it impossible to give him a huge raise. Almost all of the money for a new long-term deal would have been paid up front, which the Titans weren't willing to do.

"With my situation, you have to know who you are dealing with at the end of the day," Johnson said. "You are dealing with a team that is not known for (paying).

"Of course it's hard, looking around seeing Andre Johnson getting a new deal, and Elvis Dumervil," Johnson added. "You have guys like that, but I don't think you can look around and see a guy after two years who re-did a deal, so I was in a different situation."

On the field, Johnson is focused on reaching his next goal -- breaking Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards, set in 1984.

"I'm shooting for 2,500, but I'll be happy with anything over the record," Johnson said earlier this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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