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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trust Us!

Tennessee Titans all-world running back Chris Johnson, for the second year in a row, is holding out from training camp over a contract dispute. Last season, Johnson was earning a mid-range six figure salary and the Titans more than tripled it to over $2 million, with the understanding that if he had another spectacular season, such as the 2,000 yard rushing season he had in 2009, the organization would be open to renegotiating his contract.
Johnson on both feet while three New York Jets defenders behind him, with two clinging, in vein, to bring Johnson down. 4
Sixteen hundred yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns later, Johnson has already held up his end of the bargain. Johnson has proven that he is the most explosive, productive, and (to an opposing defense) lethal running back in football. He wants to get paid, to the tune of eight figures in guaranteed money and being among the highest paid players, running back, quarterback or otherwise, in the NFL.

Two Houston Texans defenders drag Johnson to the ground. They're on the ground; he's not. 3
Regardless of your point of view about whether Johnson should honor his current contract, which I think is a joke, there are only three possible outcomes. The first is Johnson does not play and holds out indefinitely, which he appears prepared to do. The second is that Tennessee renegotiates Johnson’s contract to Johnson’s liking and Johnson plays. The third is unlikely: the Titans have asked Johnson to come to camp and have promised to make Johnson the highest paid running back in the league when he arrives.


It is the third option that we are going to contrast with the “real world” today. Sports often parallel real life. The notion that Johnson would come to camp, effectively giving up his negotiating leverage for this season, and expect to gain the best possible outcome for himself is laughable, and Johnson and his agent know it. Johnson has more than outplayed his contract for three years in a row, at a position in which he is either at or close to the halfway point in his career as an impact playmaker.

So today, The Daily Hat Trick is going to play out some “what if” scenarios. You, the reader, can decide if you would take a leap of faith into the arms of your employer, under the circumstances. Just remember that “trust me” is a phrase among the most famous last words spoken by men.


Boss: You’ve done an outstanding job the last few years, Peterson, far better than any one man in our industry! We promised to pay you the highest salary of any salesman in the company, last year, and we meant it! All we need you to do is come in and start working these high priority accounts. As soon as you start doing that, we’ll take goooood care of you.

Peterson: “Take care of me”? What does that mean?

Boss: We going to offer you a new contract that we think you deserve.

Peterson: Well, why can’t you offer that to me now, before I come in and start doing work, which profits you?

Boss: Either way, you have a contract, so you might as well get to work! Don’t worry! The money will follow. I promise. Trust me!

Peterson: But we I agreed I wouldn’t work this contract anymore. Once I start working the accounts, I can’t just stop. Why don’t we take care of the salary issue right now?

Boss: No, no, no! It is our company’s firm policy to not renegotiate any current contract with anyone unless he’s is actively working.

Peterson: Don’t you make all of the policies?

Boss: Peterson, I can’t change the rules! I just think them up, and then write them down. Don’t worry! I’ve got your best interests at heart.

Would you take that deal if you could work for anyone you wanted to? I didn’t think so.

Peterson was born during the day, not yesterday. 1

Dad: JOEY! We had a deal, remember? If I raised your allowance to more than any other kid in the neighborhood, you would mow the front and back yards every week, not every other week. All you did, AGAIN, was mow the front yard. And you didn’t even do it last week!

Joey: Let’s be reasonable, Dad. I started mowing the front yard almost every week. I know you’re giving me $51 a week, one dollar more than Michael down the street, but I expected a little more. If you can give me $60 a week, starting today, I’ll mow the front and back yards immediately after. Trust me, Dad. Just trust me!

Any of you guys ever have the stones to try a stunt like that with your old man? If you did, did it work? No, I thought not.  
"C'mon, pops! TRUST ME!"
Doesn't this kid just look like the type to give it a try? 2


Detective: Listen, Jones, we had a DEAL! I would look the other way if I caught you with pot, again, if you dropped a dime on the dealers when you knew something. I have looked the other way even when you came into the police station reeking of the stuff. Now I come to your house and you’ve replaced your Bermuda grass with…well…the other “grass”! Now I want a name and I want it NOW!

Jones: Hey maaan. Chill out! Okay duuude? Tell you what, I know you could arrest me whenever you want, but why don’t you just bring be a baggie and some rolling papers, maaan, and I’ll give you TWO names. Trust me, duuude!

How many of you think Jones won’t be wearing the silver bracelets if he doesn’t start singing like a canary on the first day of spring?

"What bong?" 6

Chris Johnson is making the right move. He needs the Titans FAR less than they need him. To those of you who are thinking, “If I did that at my job, I’d be fired in a heartbeat,” (I always expect emails and comments like that on this topic every time)…to those who think that, remember that you are probably replaceable at your job. Chris Johnson is not.

In addition, the Titans would make Chris Johnson’s day by “firing” him. Should the Titans release Johnson, which will not happen outside of Johnson’s pipe dreams, he would become a free agent and roughly 25 of the NFL’s 30 teams, including the Titans, would be taking a number to throw insane sums of money at him, probably more than he is asking for from the Titans.

In the end, the Titans will either have to pay the man or try to save the money by allowing Johnson to hold out indefinitely, which would make them so bad in 2011 that they might be able to draft the best running back available in the 2012 draft.

The Titans can do the math.
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