Andre Johnson tied Randy Moss for tenth place on the all-time receptions list earlier this season, further cementing his place in the record books. However, Johnson’s status with the Texans is anything but concrete. A source close to Johnson that’s aware of the Texans’ thinking tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) that Houston will release Johnson if he refuses to take a pay cut this offseason.
Johnson is due to make $10.5MM in base pay in 2015 and $11MM in base pay in 2016. Given his age (33), the down year that he has had, and the viable options that are in the 2015 draft, the Texans likely will not be interested in paying the veteran that kind of money. The belief, Cole says, is that Houston will ultimately part ways with Johnson in favor of one of this year’s promising prospects at the position. Alabama’s Amari Cooper, for example, is generating a tremendous amount of buzz in advance of this spring’s draft. Beyond Cooper, there are a host of other quality wide receivers that would cost the Texans a whole lot less than Johnson.
Johnson, for his part, has said that he hopes to make it 15 seasons with the Texans. Even though he is beloved by Texans fans, he has been leapfrogged by 22-year-old DeAndre Hopkins as Houston’s top target and his salary is exorbitant for a No. 2 wide receiver in the twilight of his career. Johnson, who suffered a concussion in Week 14, has hauled in 69 catches for 737 yards and two touchdowns this season. He clearly still has football left in him, but it might not be at the level we’ve been accustomed to see from the seven-time Pro Bowler.