NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans told Chris Johnson they are releasing him 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.
Johnson’s release comes shortly before the Titans start their offseason program Monday with first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt.
General manager Ruston Webster said the Titans thank Johnson for his contributions.
“We made an effort to trade Chris, but were unable to do so,” Webster said in a statement.
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It didn’t help that Johnson, 28, repeatedly said he wouldn’t take a pay cut. The Titans didn’t face a deadline that would have guaranteed the $8 million Johnson was due in 2014 until the first week of the regular season, but Johnson planned to report for the start of the offseason program.
Bailey agrees to join Saints
NEW ORLEANS – Champ Bailey will get to chase a Pro Bowl record and a Super Bowl appearance with the New Orleans Saints.
The 35-year-old cornerback agreed to a two-year contract with a maximum value that approaches $7 million.
Bailey played the past 10 seasons with Denver after spending his first five with Washington.
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 league history in Pro Bowls.
Bailey’s 52 interceptions are the most among active players.
Giants sign ex-Hawk Davis
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants agreed to a one-year contract with tight end Kellen Davis, who was with the Seahawks last season.
Davis, 28, played in 15 regular-season games for Seattle and caught three passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.
• Philadelphia linebacker Jake Knott, 23, has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
• New England released safety Adrian Wilson, 34, who spent last season on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.
• Buffalo acquired receiver Mike Williams, 26, in a trade with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers received a sixth-round draft pick.
• Linebacker Rob Jackson, 28, re-signed with Washington.
• Denver coach John Fox, 59, reportedly has agreed to a new three-year contract.
• DeSean Jackson said Chip Kelly told him of his release from the Philadelphia Eagles via a phone call, but added the coach didn’t offer a reason other than to say it was a decision best for the team and the Pro Bowl receiver.
“When he called me, it was basically, like, ‘We’re moving forward. I think it’s best for the team. I think it’s best for yourself,’ ” Jackson said during an interview shown on ESPN.
Jackson, 27, has signed with Washington.