Chris Johnson contract: Mike Munchak says Titans RB will be back in 2013

Andy Lyons

Titans head coach Mike Munchak confirmed during a press conference on Thursday that running back Chris Johnson would be back with the Titans in 2013.

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak confirmed in a press conference on Thursday afternoon that running back Chris Johnson would be a Titan in 2013 and that the team would pay his salary.

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Munchak confirmed Johnson's status with the team in a press conference in which he and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray were introducing Garry Williams as the team's new defensive assistant coach. Johnson's status was in doubt due to the fact that $9 million of his $10 million contract is guaranteed for the upcoming season and, even though the stats don't really show it, he seemed to struggle throughout the last two seasons.

Johnson has been with the Titans since they selected him in the first round of the 2008 draft out of East Carolina. In his five years with Tennessee, he has gained at least 1,000 yards in each season. However, after a lengthy holdout before the 2011 season, which caused him to miss the majority of offseason workouts as well as the preseason, Johnson struggled to get going. He turned things on late in the year, finishing with 1,047 yards, a career low. Many expected much more from Johnson in 2012, and while he finished the season with 1,243 yards, many still felt that he underachieved.

Johnson's ability to make big plays has made him a household name and a human highlight real over the last five seasons. His presence in the backfield is enough to make defensive coordinators focus mainly on him, which should help young quarterback Jake Locker progress in the NFL.

Had the Titans decided to cut ties with Johnson, he would have immediately become one of the biggest free agents on the market, as teams looking to add a game-breaking running back to their roster would scramble over each other to sign him to a long-term deal. It seems as though that isn't going to be the case, though.

Through his five years with the Titans, Johnson has racked up 6,888 total yards and 44 touchdowns with an average of 4.7 yards per carry. His best year was in 2009, when he ran for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has also caught 230 passes for 1,658 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He is currently signed through the 2016 season.

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