Earlier this week the Houston Texans granted receiver Andre Johnson his wish to be released. Only two days later and the 12-year veteran found a new home, in a familiar division.
Johnson will stay in the AFC South and become a member of the rival Indianapolis Colts. The move has been expected for a couple of days, but was not official until Wednesday afternoon.
While it would be strange to see Andre in any other uniform, it will be even more difficult having him in the division and on the schedule twice per season.
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In Indianapolis, the receiver is pairing with a young star quarterback in Andrew Luck, as well as his old college teammate, the recently signed running back Frank Gore. He believes this core gives him the best shot at winning a title going forward.
"“I felt like this was the best place where I can win a championship and help win a championship,” Johnson said via ESPN.com. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we play the game.”"
There was talk of a reduced role in the Texan’s offense if Andre returned in 2015, at a lower salary. Johnson said that idea “doesn’t make sense.”
I have to agree, as the reality is Johnson was let go mostly due to his salary. He was still due around $21.5 million over the final two years of his contract. As it turns out, he will reportedly make $21 million in Indianapolis, but over the course of a three-year deal.
As good as number 80 has been throughout his career, the release made sense from a business standpoint. The Texans saved $8.825 million by cutting the 33 year-old Johnson.
The team had originally allowed the receiver and his agent to look for a trade partner, and reports came out quickly that there was a mutual interest between the veteran and the Colts. No trade was made however, most likely because it was known the Texans planned to release him if nothing came of the trade market.
So now, twice per year, the Houston Texans will have to face the best offensive player this young franchise has ever had. It will definitely be interesting to watch the first time these two teams take the field. And the first time Andre comes to NRG Stadium as an opponent, will be downright strange to see.