The Detroit Lions might be losing (Arguably) the second greatest player in the history of the franchise despite being only 30, as Calvin Johnson seems to be seriously considering retirement despite being only 30.
After nine seasons in the league, it looks like the combination of injuries and not seeing much of a bright future for the Lions is making Johnson think strong and hard about retiring. As someone close to him said to ESPN, if Johnson isn’t 100% into playing football anymore, there’s a good chance he walks away. However, it’s one of those things that a lot of older players contemplate at this point of the season, with their body aching and their mind tired from the season.
While not missing too many games over the years (135 games in nine seasons, missing a total of nine), Johnson has been playing with injuries over the last four years, including an ankle that’s been hurting him since week 8 this season. It’s didn’t stop him from catching 88 passes for 1214 yards, his seventh season with 1000 yards or more while also catching nine touchdowns, but missing the playoffs once again isn’t helping getting him motivated about getting ready for another year. Johnson has been to the postseason just twice, not consecutively, and has never tasted playoff victory. Each postseason appearance was followed by a losing season.
There were rumors earlier this season about Johnson hoping to get traded to a contender, but he has made it clear that he wants to win, wants to win as a Lions player and that playing for someone else hasn’t crossed his mind. He didn’t talk about finishing his career with the team that took him second overall in the 2007 NFL draft, but that was pretty much implying that right now, he can’t see himself playing for anyone else.
There’s a lot of money at stake, with Johnson signed through the 2019 season with some huge cap hits along the way, including $24 million next season, making just under $16 million in salary. There have been discussions about the Lions asking him to take a pay cut which does make sense. The Lions can cut him but it will be costly. Still, it’ll clear them around $11 million under the salary cap. Since the season ended, it’s been mostly about Johnson spreading hints about this future, making things quite unclear. It’s obvious he’s thinking about not coming back. It’s hard to imagine him thinking about playing anywhere else and seeing him in a different uniform. He owns pretty much every receiving record for the Lions, and is second all-time in receiving yards per game with 86.1.