NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The CJ2K era is over in Tennessee, just the latest step by the Titans in their franchise makeover.
The Titans told Chris Johnson they are releasing him Friday after six seasons to avoid paying $8 million the running back is due in 2014, along with the final three seasons left on the $53.5 million contract he signed in September 2011. His release comes before the Titans start their offseason program Monday with new coach Ken Whisenhunt.
The Titans have been busy working to replace Johnson, who turns 29 in September. They agreed with Dexter McCluster on a three-year deal at the start of free agency after signing Shonn Greene in March 2013. The Titans also re-signed Jackie Battle recently, along with reaching a one-year deal for kick returner and running back Leon Washington on March 11.
Johnson is just the sixth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons, along with Sanders, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson and Corey Dillon.
Veteran defensive back Champ Bailey has agreed to a two-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.
The 35-year-old Bailey played the last 10 seasons with Denver after spending his first five in the NFL with Washington. A shutdown cornerback for much of his career, Bailey has made three All-Pro teams and been selected to 12 Pro Bowls. He trails only Hall of Fame end Reggie White (13) among defensive players in NFL history in Pro Bowls.
Bailey's 52 interceptions are the most among active players, as are his 204 passes defensed.