Houston Texans: Bring Back Andre Johnson?
Andre Johnson may be released by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, so should he consider a return to the Houston Texans?
Andre Johnson is arguably the greatest offensive player to suit up in a Houston Texans uniform, but unfortunately he and the team had to part ways last offseason. Johnson’s play had clearly declined, and the team needed to move on from him. Johnson wound up playing for the Indianapolis Colts, but after just one season he seems likely to move on again. Should Houston stay far away, or should they consider bringing back this legendary Texan?
First we must acknowledge that Johnson is under contract with the Colts for another two years, but there are reports that he is “likely to be released” this offseason (via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star). So the Colts still have the option to keep Johnson or to trade him away, but for our purposes lets imagine that Johnson’s 500 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2015 weren’t worth the $7.5 million Indy payed him, and they’re ready to part ways.
Those 500 yards and 4 touchdowns are something for the Texans to consider if they’re thinking about bringing Johnson back, but what’s even more frightening is his catch percentage of 53.2%. The team’s quarterbacks had a completion percentage of only 57.4%, but that still means that the ball was less likely to be caught when thrown Johnson’s way than when thrown to other people.
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Still, Johnson would have been Houston’s third leading receiver this season, and his catch percentage was better than Houston’s No. 2 wide receiver Nate Washington, who caught only 50% of the passes thrown his way. Both he and Cecil Shorts III struggled with injuries and failed to give the Texans a solid option behind Pro-Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
Johnson has already experienced playing second fiddle to Hopkins, because the two played together in 2014. Even though Johnson saw more targets and catches, Hopkins outpaced him by over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. That was the writing on the wall that Andre Johnson was no longer an elite-level NFL receiver.
If Johnson were to return to Houston now though, it would be with a clear understanding of his role behind Hopkins, and he would be more in line with Cecil Shorts III in terms of his role on the team. Nate Washington will be a free agent this season, and if Houston can bring Johnson back then there’s no reason to re-sign him.
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I (along with many Texan fans), would love to see Andre Johnson in a Texans jersey once again, and would be even more thrilled to see him retire in Houston. If the two parties can move past the awkwardness of last year’s breakup, then Johnson could be a good fit. No, he’s not a game-changing player, but he’s a solid veteran leader who would bring a lot of excitement to the program.
It may be a long shot, but if Houston can get Johnson at a reduced cost then I’d love to see a reunion. There may not be many teams eager to sign a 34-year-old wide receiver who has declining skills, so it may just work out.