Forgive a bit of repetition here, but this is sort of a big deal. We’re very much entering the time of the calendar when major player movement or potential movement is monitored with the kind of devotion that’s matched only by those who are members of a cult and drink a whole lot of Kool Aid. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess.

Anywho, earlier this week we dutifully informed you that the Titans intend to pay the man, and in this case said man is Chris Johnson, their running back who’s sometimes awesome, sometimes horrendously frustrating, and never anything in between. Specifically, that means they’ll pick up his $10 million option which is automatically triggered Saturday if he’s still on the roster, and $9 million of that is guaranteed. If they wanted to cut Johnson and begin anew in their backfield, they could simply choose to not pay him that cold cash, and save $9 million.

We’ve laid out the likely motivations behind the Titans’ decision to pay Johnson. Without repeating too much of that here, it’s this: he may be expensive, and he may be inconsistent, but at his best and most explosive, he’s still a vital piece of backfield support for the developing Jake Locker.

That’s great, and wonderful. There’s just one minor detail that remains: someone should tell Chris Johnson that Chris Johnson isn’t going anywhere.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport’s sources told him that no communication has taken place between Johnson and Titans management regarding the running back’s future:

“I’m told the Titans have no plans to release him, but Johnson has, in fact, not been told that,” Rapoport told NFL Network’s “Total Access” on Wednesday. “He still seems a little nervous about his place. But no worries, Chris Johnson, I’m told he will be on the roster in 2013, working with a running backs coach in Sylvester Croom, who I know is extremely excited to work with him, as Croom told me, ‘I’ve never worked with anybody that fast.’ “

This is only mildly odd, and it’s a rare situation in which these finely-tuned athletic machines aren’t too much different than you and I. Well, sort of.

Usually, very little good news comes from being called into an office and told to close the door. So while Johnson may be forced to squirm for a bit, and his status with his current team won’t be official until Saturday, this is further confirmation that he isn’t going anywhere.

Now all he has to do is not suck for prolonged stretches.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Jay Cutler is a hopeless romantic. [E! News, because of course]
  • Doug Flutie, knuckleballer? [Getting Blanked]
  • J.J. Watt, in cake form. [Shutdown Corner]
  • The official Combine invitee list is out, and 60 defensive backs will participate, the most of any position. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be watching the 13 punters. [NFL.com]