Houston Texans’ wide receiver Andre Johnson has been a Texan his entire career. But according to recent reports, it looks like Johnson could be on his way out, especially if he’s planning on being greedy.
According to Bleacher Report and several other sources, the Texans are looking to make price cuts, especially in Johnson’s department. And as of last December, Johnson and his agent, Andre Melton, claimed they understood Houston’s financial position and that the wide out was willing to receive a cut in salary to remain on the team.
"“We understand it’s a business and we’re willing to deal with that,” Melton told the Houston Chronicle. “And Andre doesn’t mind having a pay cut…(Owner) Bob McNair said himself (Johnson) is going to retire a Texan. Well if that’s the case, then we understand that. And if you can put players around him to make it happen, we understand where he’s at in his career.”"
And exactly where is Johnson in his career? The 33-year old appears to be on the downslope recording his lowest totals last year since 2005 (with the exception of two injury-plagued seasons in 2007 and 2011). He had just 85 receptions on 147 targets for 936 yards and three touchdowns in 2014.
As the Bleacher Report article goes on to argue in Johnson’s defense, Andre has continued to put up big years despite not having the greatest cast to support him. And more importantly, no quarterback of note to throw to him.
Yet since his career started in Houston in 2003, Johnson has accumulated over 1,000 yards four times and over 1,500 yards on three other occasions.
Though total yards are fantastic, they really only speak towards a players worth. Average reception yards speak more towards a players’ contribution to the team.
Johnson has averaged over 10 yards per catch in every season that he has played. This number is astonishing, and really shows what he can do for the team.
Johnson is in the final two years of a seven-year, $62.7 million contract which he signed with Houston back in 2010. He is scheduled to make $10.5 million this season and $11 million more in 2016.
As Houston looks forward at being one of the league’s teams in the playoffs, keeping cap space open is important as they may look to free agency to fill voids.
According to OverTheTop.com, the Texans currently have $13,194,106 in cap space. But that number will change as the team decides which players to re-sign, which contracts to re-negotiate, and which players to release.
Despite his age and dropping production, I believe Johnson can still be an asset to the team. If not in Houston, than elsewhere. Teams like the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears would probably love to have the veteran recevier on their roster.
As Johnson has played for over a decade now, could retirement be in his near future? According to him, when it does come, he’d like to still be a Texan.
"“I hope it all works out, where I can finish my career here and hopefully get this organization a Super Bowl before I retire,” Johnson told the Houston Chronicle. “If it doesn’t, then I’d hate to see it end that way. But you have to just keep moving forward.”"
If Johnson is released this offseason, the NFL Draft would be an option to find his replacement. Rookies are generally inexpensive and a great value. The downside to this is the Texans may get underdeveloped players who could take a few seasons to turn into truly productive receivers. As Houston’s goal is to be playoff ready next year, this may not be the route to take.
Maybe the better route to take would be free agency, or a trade for another receiver who has been in the NFL for at least a few years. Lots are available, from Green Bay’s Randall Cobb to Philadelphia’s Jeremy Maclin, there are plenty of big names hitting the open market next month.