One of the most notable stories of the 2014 NFL offseason, particularly after the initial free agent period and the draft had ended, was the fate of longtime Texans receiver Andre Johnson. The veteran wideout expressed frustration with what he perceived as a rebuilding process for the club, leading to speculation that he might hold out, and that the team may seek a trade.
Ultimately, Johnson and the Texans worked out their differences, and the 33-year-old is in the midst of playing out his 12th season with the club. With the 2014 season winding down, Johnson expressed a desire to continue his career for a few more years, telling Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle that he hopes to play for 15 seasons, all in a Texans uniform.
“I don’t want to play for nobody else,” Johnson said. “I’ve been here for 12 years. I don’t think it would feel right. I’ve seen everybody come and go in this locker room … I’ve seen it all. [My] locker has been here the longest. I can’t imagine how it would feel to put on someone else’s uniform so hopefully …. You always want it to turn out OK. I want things to work out here.”
While Johnson remains a very productive receiver, the former third overall pick is perhaps being surpassed by DeAndre Hopkins as Houston’s No. 1 wideout this season — Johnson has caught 65 balls to Hopkins’ 60, but trails the second-year pro by a significant margin in receiving yards (1,041 to 720) and touchdowns (six to two). Presumably, Johnson – who has nothing but praise for Hopkins – is comfortable ceding targets and catches to the 22-year-old as he approaches his mid-30s. Still, declining numbers for Johnson will likely make the Texans wary of the veteran’s big cap numbers, meaning it may be necessary to rework his contract.
A 15-year career would mean Johnson plays through the 2017 season, even though his current deal expires after 2016. With respective cap hits of $16.14MM and $14.68MM on the books for the next two years, the Texans and Johnson may end up restructuring his deal, reducing those numbers a little and tacking on some guaranteed money and an extra year.