We learned earlier this week that the Texans have given veteran receiver Andre Johnson the go-ahead to seek a trade, but some reports around that time suggested it was the team’s idea to pursue a trade, rather than a request Johnson made. Agent Kennard McGuire essentially confirmed as much today, telling Pro Football Talk (Twitter link) that he has asked the Texans to cut Johnson. According to PFT, McGuire has not and will not try to seek a trade for his client.
The request from McGuire doesn’t necessarily mean Johnson will be cut instead of dealt — if the Texans could get anything of value for the wideout in a trade, I imagine that’s an option the team would pursue. However, taking into account Johnson’s exorbitant cap numbers for the next couple seasons, it seems unlikely that any club would meet Houston’s asking price. As such, asking for Johnson’s release could be McGuire’s tactic for avoiding a scenario in which no teams are willing to trade for his client. Of course, hitting the open market would also give the wideout the freedom to choose his next destination, rather than relying on the Texans to do so for him.
Johnson, who is entering his age-34 season, caught a team-high 85 balls in 2014, but that was his lowest total for a full season in about a decade. The former third overall pick also averaged just 62.4 yards per game, the third-lowest mark of his 12-year career. Houston reportedly asked Johnson to accept a reduced role in the offense going forward, which prompted discussion of a trade, and will almost certainly end the receiver’s time with the Texans.
Johnson is currently set to count for $16.145MM against the cap for 2015, though any team acquiring him would just be responsible for his $10.5MM base salary and $1MM roster bonus. Still, that’s a steep price to pay for a wideout entering his mid-30s. Houston could create $8.825MM in cap savings by releasing Johnson, even without designating him as a post-June 1 cut. That would mean the former Miami Hurricane wouldn’t receive his $10MM+ base salary, and would have to settle for a lesser amount, but he’d have the ability to pick his next team, likely opting for a contender with a stable quarterback situation.
Johnson’s $1MM roster bonus isn’t due until Week 1, so there’s no urgency for the Texans to resolve the situation immediately, but I’d be surprised if it dragged on for too long.