For the second straight offseason, there’s plenty of drama between the Houston Texans and Andre Johnson, who has been allowed to seek for a trade on his own, but himself has asked for the team to either send him away or release him, not wanting to feature in a smaller role than before.
At 33, Johnson is heading into the twilight of his career. He was the team’s number two receiver last season as the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins slightly pushed him aside. Johnson, in 15 games, caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns. He has three seasons of over 1500 receiving yards for the Texans and has been quite productive regardless of the inconsistency at quarterback throughout his career, establishing himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL since being drafted in 2003.
Johnson is one hell of a cap hit for a player who isn’t going to be a number one receiver for the team. He’ll be owed $10.5 million in base salary next season and his cap hit is $16.1 million. Releasing him will save the Texans $8.8 million in cap savings. Johnson is also contracted to play in 2016 with $11 million in base salary and a cap hit of $14.7 million. He’ll be the highest paid player on the Texans’ roster should he begin the season with the team.
Johnson seems to be sure of his departure. Last season he held out of the offseason workouts, organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, arriving at the facility shortly before training camp began. He was unhappy with the lack of ambition from the front office and their moves during that offseason, but didn’t get the release or trade he was wishing for. Now, it seems he’s quite confident he’ll be playing somewhere else in a few months.
According to his agent, Johnson is thinking about the playoffs and contending for a Super Bowl, something that might not be possible for the Texans at the moment. He’s been to the playoffs only twice since entering the league 12 years ago, on both occasions winning the Wild Card game before losing in the divisional playoff game.
He is 12th all-time in receiving yards with 13,597 and 4th in receiving yards per game throughout his career with 80.5 His 1012 receptions are good enough for ninth all-time. He’s also a seven-time Pro Bowl selection (in 2013 was his most recent) and a two-time First Team All-Pro.