Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is the latest premiere NFL holdout to demand more money. Johnson wants to be the highest paid running back in the NFL, requesting a contract extension worth a reported $39 million over the first three years.
And while his statistics speak for themselves, a more relevant dynamic is on the bargaining table. In a sport where youth and durability amount to dollars, Johnson, 25, is reaching the prime of his career.
So rather than be disposed of by age 30, Johnson and many elite NFL running backs have learned it’s best to get paid before you get old.
History has proven that running backs need to get that big payday from an organization much earlier than a star quarterback or wide receiver. Peyton Manning can get a $90 million contract at the age of 35 because the quarterback position isn’t nearly as taxing on the body as running back.