The speculation can begin. The Tennessee Titans have finally officially cut ties with star running back Chris Johnson, saving $6 million in the process. Johnson was scheduled to make over $8 million in 2014 and hadn’t been playing up to his contract.
A move that has been in the works since before the 2013 NFL regular season was even over is now complete, allowing the Titans to move forward at the running back position and let Johnson try to latch on with a contending team.
Johnson has already been tied to the New York Jets, who would like a more explosive back to pair with the powerful but injury-prone Chris Ivory. The Jets appear to be the front-runners to land Johnson on the open market, but as easily the top back available in free agency, Johnson is sure to have more serious suitors than just New York.
While Johnson still has major value on the open market and will easily find a new job, he’s unlikely to be viewed as a franchise back by anyone else at this point. Going on 29 in September, Johnson is now five years removed from his epic 2,000+ yard rushing seasons, and arguably hasn’t been the same player since 2009. Still possessing elite speed and versatility, however, Johnson could be a key signing for the right team. In addition to the Jets, teams such as the New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys are suspected to be in the mix, among others.