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Updated: April 4th, 2014 12:39pm
Titans cut CJ2K; will Adrian Peterson see the end of his contract?

Titans cut CJ2K; will Adrian Peterson see the end of his contract?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Chris Johnson is looking for a job.

The Tennessee Titans on Friday announced they have released the star running back. He was due $13.5 million for 2014, and the team reportedly will save $6 million against the cap.

Johnson's $8 million base salary would have been the second-highest for a running back this season, behind Adrian Peterson's $11.75 million base salary, according to spotrac.com.

Peterson is now the only running back that has a cap hit higher than $10 million, and his is $14.4.

The Titans released this statement Friday that said, in part:

"As an organization, we want to thank Chris for his contributions to the Titans.  Chris produced many memorable moments, broke franchise records and was durable over his six year career with our team"

And yet, he's now looking for work.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune wrote a good blog earlier this week about the decreasing value of running backs in the NFL. He wrote that the chances Peterson reaches the end of his seven-year, $100 million deal are small, if there is any chance at all.

That deal would be up at the end of 2017, when Peterson will be 32.

Craig correctly points out that the Vikings could restructure, rather than outright releasing Peterson, but it gets easier as the years tick past to sever ties strictly for financial reasons.

From Craig:

The 2016 season is the first year of the new stadium and the first year that there is no dead money in Peterson's contract. His cap number is $15 million that season and $17 million the following season. So if the Vikings wanted to, they could cut him in either of those seasons and save that full amount against the cap.

Johnson's release serves as a reminder about how running backs are valued in today's NFL. It's one of the more fungible positions on the field and even elite backs like Peterson just aren't as valuable as they once were.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Adrian Peterson
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