Chris Johnson finally is coming to Nashville. Whether or not he stays is far from certain.
Johnson posted on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon that he was “Flying out to Nashville tonight to meet with Joel [Segal] and the GM in the morning to see which way were going. Could get better or worst.”
Segal is his agent, and the "GM" is, of course, Titans general manager Mike Reinfedlt, who has been steadfast in his refusal to negotiate while the record-setting running back was not with the team.
Johnson opted not to show for the start of training camp and stayed away throughout the three-plus week process, which ended a day earlier than scheduled Monday, in an attempt to force the team to renegotiate his contract, which has two years remaining.
His absence subjected him to a fine of $30,000 per day under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement with the players. It also cost him one year of accrued service toward free agency.
During that time, some other top offensive players agreed to new — and sizable — contracts with their teams. Arizona agreed to an eight-year, $120 million deal ($50 million guaranteed) with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald over the weekend. And on Monday, tackle Joe Thomas agreed to a seven-year $84 million ($44 million guaranteed) pact with Cleveland.
Johnson, the 2009 offensive player of the year, said he wants to be paid as one of the top offensive players in the league.
Reinfeldt has said only that the team is prepared to make him the highest-paid running back in league history. Running backs typically have commanded less than quarterbacks, tackles and wide receivers.
“You’re comparing a running back, a quarterback, and a receiver; I don’t know how they compare in all the breakdowns,” coach Mike Munchak said Sunday. “… I’m sure [Fitzgerald’s contract] is something that will get attention, but I’m not sure how much that will affect us.”
Reinfeldt has conceded that the team would negotiate if he is willing to take part in meetings yet not risk injury by participating in workouts.
Players had Tuesday off and were scheduled to resume workouts Wednesday.