Earlier this month, a report suggested that the Texans will release longtime wideout Andre Johnson this offseason if the veteran refuses a pay cut. Asked about that report, Johnson acknowledged the possibility of reworking his deal, and reiterated his desire to remain in Houston, as Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle details.
“Nobody wants to hear that,” Johnson said about the possibility of a pay cut. “But it’s the nature of the business. I’ve seen it happen, heard it happen, had it happen to friends of mine. I understand that.”
Johnson, 33, will see his base salary increase to $10.5MM in 2015 and $11MM in 2016, with respective cap hits of $16MM+ and $14.675MM. While those figures would be fair for an elite receiver, Johnson is no longer that sort of player, having ceded the role of the Texans’ No. 1 wideout to DeAndre Hopkins this year. The former third overall pick has still had a productive season, hauling in 75 passes, but he has only accumulated 802 receiving yards, and his two touchdowns would match a career low. As such, Johnson’s advisor and uncle, Andre Melton, recognizes that his nephew will be asked to restructure his contract.
“We understand it’s a business and we’re willing to deal with that,” Melton said. “And Andre doesn’t mind having a pay cut.”
If Johnson is indeed willing to discuss a pay cut, it seems likely that the two sides will work something out, given the wideout’s recent declaration that he’d like to play his entire career with the Texans. Still, Johnson and the Texans were at odds during the 2014 offseason, and there’s a chance that the 2015 offseason could be even more contentious, so the possibility of a divorce shouldn’t be ruled out.
“They’re going to come in the offseason and say, ‘Hey, Andre: This is what we need to do,’” Melton said. “If we can come to some type of common ground with everybody where everybody can be happy, then we’ll work on that, that’ll be fine. And if we can’t, it will be sad to say. … But we’ll see who can give (us) a shot at a ring.”