General manager Mike Reinfeldt told The Associated Press on Thursday that Johnson’s agent was the first person they called once the NFL’s lockout was lifted. The Titans reworked Johnson’s contract a year ago to give him more money in 2010 and promised to talk to him again a year later.
But the Titans want Johnson in training camp before completing a new extension.
“Even though he has two years left on his contract, we’d like him to go in,” Reinfeldt said. “He could go to meetings, get to know the new coaches, he can learn the scheme. He doesn’t have to practice, but it’s something we want to get done.
“Again, we’re willing to make him the highest paid running back in the history of the NFL. That’s kind of where we are.”
The running back’s agent, Joel Segal, was not immediately available. The agent has declined to comment during the contract negotiations, and Johnson did not immediately respond to text messages to his cell from the AP.
But Johnson told The Tennessean he was surprised to hear that Reinfeldt said that he would make him the highest paid running back ever. Johnson said neither he nor his agent has received any offer from the Titans.
“Maybe they talked, but I guarantee we never received any offer,” Johnson told The Tennessean.
Johnson was the 24th overall pick in 2008. But he has more yards rushing (4,598) than any other running back in the NFL over the past three years, was the sixth player in league history to run for at least 2,000 yards in 2009 and is a three-time Pro Bowler. Johnson is due more than $1 million instead of the $850,000 scheduled originally thanks to the Titans’ revisions in 2010.
He has refused to report until he gets a new contract, though he did take part in a two-day player-organized minicamp in June. Johnson mentioned he’d like $30 million guaranteed for his new contract back in 2010. He missed his 11th day of practice in camp Thursday, and the Titans open the preseason Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
Carolina recently gave DeAngelo Williams a five-year deal valued at $43 million with $21 million guaranteed. Adrian Peterson of Minnesota is in the final season of his original five-year contract, earning more than $10 million this season. Steven Jackson got a six-year deal worth $44 million with more than $20 million in bonuses in August 2008.
Reinfeldt said they already have talked about the framework of this new deal for Johnson and think the extension could be wrapped up in a couple weeks. Tennessee has a new coach in Mike Munchak after parting with Jeff Fisher in January, and that means a new offensive coordinator as well.
Johnson’s holdout has been a hot topic among fans since training camp opened on July 29. Some have called the Titans cheap on talk radio, Twitter and message boards for not paying Johnson what he wants; others point out Johnson is under contract and should show up.
Munchak said after practice that he’s just looking forward to getting it all worked out.View Entire Story
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