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Tennessee Titans Release Chris Johnson

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Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images.
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images.

After weeks of speculation surrounding his future in Tennessee, the Titans have decided to release Chris Johnson after failing to find a trade partner, as first reported by Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

The Titans made no secret of their desire to part ways with Johnson, so the news isn’t all that surprising. After taking the league by storm through his first three seasons in the NFL, Johnson’s play has fallen off dramatically. He hasn’t come even remotely close to reaching his career-high 2,006 rushing yards from 2009, and the Titans were simply paying him far too much to justify keeping him on the roster.

Tennessee will save $6 million against the cap with Johnson‘s release, but they’ll have to take on $4 million in dead money. It’s hard to imagine the Titans not drafting a speedy back in the 2014 NFL Draft to complement Shonn Greene, who plays more of a power back role. Greene will likely inherit lead-role duties in the backfield and serve as their workhorse back.

“As an organization, we want to thank Chris for his contributions to the Titans,” a statement by the team read. “Chris produced many memorable moments, broke franchise records and was durable over his six year career with our team. We have had an open dialogue with Chris’ agent, Joel Segal, over the last few weeks, and we appreciate the patience and professionalism they have shown throughout this process. We made an effort to trade Chris but were unable to do so. We wish Chris the best and thank him for the six seasons he spent with us.”

Through 95 games in six seasons with the Titans, Johnson rushed 1,742 times for 7,965 yards and 50 touchdowns. He also added another 2,003 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 272 receptions.

Johnson is no longer the same player that broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark, but he’s without question the best running back to hit the open market this year. He’ll draw plenty of interest from a number of teams, and while he won’t touch the $8 million he was set to make for the 2014 season, it won’t take long for him to find a new home.