In yet another sign that Calvin Johnson could be getting ready for retirement, the wide receiver called owner Martha Ford to thank her and her daughters for everything over the years, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Still, as of this writing, Johnson has not formally relayed his decision to the team.
Meanwhile, Lions’ coaches are still keen on finding a way to bring Megatron back (link). Johnson will not be brought back at his current salary as his cap charge is set to balloon to more than $24MM next season. Still, he could be brought back at a lesser AAV on an extension. Rapoport suggests Larry Fitzgerald‘s extension as a possible comp and that could be a logical move for both sides, if Johnson can be talked into playing. This time last year, Fitzgerald agreed to a deal that instantly created $13MM in cap space for the Cardinals. Prior to the deal, he was slated to count for $23MM against the cap in ’15.
If Johnson does retire, he will owe the Lions $3.2MM in signing bonus money. Moreover, Detroit will save more than $11MM on its 2016 salary cap if Johnson hangs it up.
Since leading the NFL with 122 receptions and 1,964 yards in 2012, Johnson has seen his production decline a little. Still, he continued to be one of the league’s more productive pass catchers in 2015, with 88 catches, 1,214 yards, and nine touchdowns. Johnson is the Lions’ all-time leader in receptions (731) receiving yards (11,619) and receiving touchdowns (83), tweets Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.
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