Dec 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) warms up before a game against the Houston Texans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Johnson: Not Ready to Make His Decision Yet

Well, we thought yesterday was going to be an exciting day. Chris Johnson was in town to visit with the team, and most of us hoped, to sign. Well it didn’t happen. He was in town, and attended the Knicks’ game last night, but without a contract to play for the New York Jets. According to a report on NFL.com, there were good feelings on both sides, but no deal.

Here is what Chris Johnson had to say about the day:

 

So, the scenario plays on for a while.

The resounding assumption, as the news came out that Johnson left the facility without a contract, was that there was a difference of opinion regarding money, his role, or both. Chris Johnson likely wants to start and be a feature back, while the Jets have in mind a dual role with the incumbent Chris Ivory.

Of course, each side likely wants payment in concert with these roles.

Johnson has other visits to make around the league, although he seems to have enjoyed his visit to Florham Park. Does Chris make it back to NY to sign a contract with the Jets? Does he end up somewhere else, with a team willing to give him a chance as the feature back? Obviously, we will find out in the coming days.

However, no matter what we want to see, John Idzik will not overpay for this player. He will not overpay for ANY player, so he sure won’t start now.

Chris Johnson believes he is still a feature back. The tape on him reveals the fact that he isn’t. He does not hit the holes the same way he did when he was younger, earning his CJ2K moniker. He can get to the outside and break off a long one, but not consistently. Look at his stats:

Rushing & Receiving

Rushing Receiving
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Att Yds TD Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G YScm RRTD Fmb AV
2008* 23 TEN RB 28 15 14 251 1228 9 66 4.9 81.9 16.7 43 260 6.0 1 25 2.9 17.3 1488 10 1 11
2009*+ 24 TEN RB 28 16 16 358 2006 14 91 5.6 125.4 22.4 50 503 10.1 2 69 3.1 31.4 2509 16 3 19
2010* 25 TEN RB 28 16 16 316 1364 11 76 4.3 85.3 19.8 44 245 5.6 1 25 2.8 15.3 1609 12 3 13
2011 26 TEN RB 28 16 16 262 1047 4 48 4.0 65.4 16.4 57 418 7.3 0 34 3.6 26.1 1465 4 3 9
2012 27 TEN rb 28 16 15 276 1243 6 94 4.5 77.7 17.3 36 232 6.4 0 22 2.3 14.5 1475 6 5 9
2013 28 TEN RB 28 16 16 279 1077 6 30 3.9 67.3 17.4 42 345 8.2 4 66 2.6 21.6 1422 10 3 9
Career 95 93 1742 7965 50 94 4.6 83.8 18.3 272 2003 7.4 8 69 2.9 21.1 9968 58 18 70

These are the numbers of a player that is ready to be a complimentary player, a member of a two-headed attack, with a guy such as Chris Ivory. Johnson does NOT have the numbers of a feature back any longer. Ivory carried the ball for nearly a yard better per carry last season. But, Ivory can’t carry the load on his own because of his running style.

The Jets need the sum of these two parts together, but not at any cost.

If he is a complimentary back, Johnson should be paid as a complimentary back. Overpaying for a player in that role just isn’t fiscally responsible. John Idzik knows this, and won’t break that rule, even if the fans want it.

If Johnson goes somewhere else, you may be inclined to call it a mistake. It might be, but we don’t know that yet. We have to see what the Jets do instead, before we declare it a glaring error by John Idzik. The Jets might come up with a great alternative. The result of this move is not the be all and end all for 2014.

Now that Chris Johnson has left without a deal, there is no guarantee he will be signing one. If that is how it turns out, don’t write Idzik off as an idiot. Let’s see what he has in store first. There is a lot of off-season to go.

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