3:13pm: Retirement isn’t an option at this point for Johnson, according to Smith, who says (via Twitter) that the receiver plans to play for three more seasons, which is also how long his current contract runs.
2:35pm: No player has been with the Texans longer than wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was selected by the franchise with the third overall pick in 2003. Still, after 11 seasons in Houston, Johnson sounds like he may be ready to move on, asking reporters today, “Is this still the place for me?” (link via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle).
Appearing at a charity event in Houston, Johnson expressed his frustrations publicly for the first time, revealing that he doesn’t plan to attend the team’s OTAs or minicamp. Although the longtime standout receiver says he hasn’t requested a trade, he acknowledged that the offseason has been “very frustrating,” as the club continues to cycle through new coaches and quarterbacks.
The Texans may be hard-pressed to find a trade partner now that many teams have filled their rosters and no longer have cap space to take on a player who is set to earn a $10MM base salary in 2014. Still, with three years left on Johnson’s deal, it sounds like resolution will need to happen at some point in the near future, and ’14 is the first year in which the Texans could actually create a little cap room by releasing or trading the receiver.
Although he has racked up over 3,000 receiving yards in the last two seasons, earning Pro Bowl berths in both years, Johnson will turn 33 this summer, so it’s fair to wonder how many more productive years he has left in him. 2011 and 2012 were the first two playoff seasons in Houston since Johnson joined the team, but after a significant regression in 2013, the longtime Texan sounds concerned about being part of another rebuild.
“We’ve talked. They understand how I feel,” Johnson said of the club. We’ll have to wait and see if the Texans are able to do anything about it before the 2014 season gets underway.