After an impressive start to the 2013 season, the Tennessee Titans sit at 5-7, having lost 7-of-9 games and barely clinging to the mathematical hope they have left in the AFC playoff race. While it looks grim that the Titans would get into the postseason, they might be wise in looking forward to their future.
One of the things I believe would greatly benefit the team, if they could find a trade partner, is shipping out running back Chris Johnson. In 2013, Johnson is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry and hasn’t yet come close to reaching 1,000 yards at this point with a total of 774. At this rate, he’ll barely eclipse the 1,000 yard mark — and by barely, I mean maybe by a couple hundred — for the fourth straight year after busting loose for over 2,000 in 2009.
The Titans are clearly going to be built around quarterback Jake Locker from here on out after the third-year quarterback enjoyed a breakout season before suffering injuries that ended his year. Locker’s improvement and efficiency have given the Titans the ability to run their offense through him and make Locker more of a game-manager.
With that said, Johnson’s inconsistent play shouldn’t be tolerated anymore. Whether he simply doesn’t want to play in Tennessee any longer or has merely lost a step, Johnson has regressed in production in a big way. Trading him would give the Titans the ability to bring in even more playmakers on offense by most likely getting a draft pick or two.
One of the biggest reasons Tennessee should trade Johnson before next season is because his value will likely only decrease from here on out. Would the Titans rather have decreased production over the next two years or at least attempt to get a young and productive player or two in return? Johnson could absolutely contribute to the right team, but can no longer be “the guy” in the Titans’ offense.
If Tennessee was smart, they would begin thinking about making this move to better position themselves for a 2014 season they hope to be much-improved compared to the disappointment they have endured this year.