SUNDAY, 7:17pm: Megatron’s camp disputes the report money factors into the wideout’s retirement decision. A source close to Johnson informed Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson the All-Pro receiver’s merely deciding whether or not he wants to play football again. Robinson adds it may be several weeks before Johnson officially lets the Lions know if he’s done or not, even as the March 9 deadline looms.
SATURDAY, 6:40pm: Although nearly a month has passed since news broke of Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson‘s intention to retire, the 30-year-old hasn’t officially made a decision. Johnson still doesn’t want to play, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who adds that it’s possible the nine-year veteran hasn’t retired yet because he would rather do so as a free agent than as a Lion.
As Florio writes, if Johnson steps away from the game while under Lions control, he’ll still be theirs if he ever elects to make a comeback (he has four more years left on his current contract). If Detroit releases Johnson, though, he’ll be free to choose his next destination in the event of a return. Further, the Lions won’t be able to ask for Johnson to pay back his $3.2MM signing bonus if they cut him.
A resolution to Megatron’s situation is likely to come by March 9. If he retires or the Lions release him by that date, they’ll open up over $11MM in cap space for 2016. Otherwise, Johnson’s $15.95MM base salary and $24MM-plus cap number will go on the team’s books this year.
Johnson holds the Lions’ all-time franchise receiving marks in catches (731), yards (11,619) and touchdowns (83). Since leading the NFL with 122 receptions and 1,964 yards in 2012, the ex-Georgia Tech standout has experienced a dip in production. Nevertheless, he remained among the game’s most prolific wideouts last season, pulling in 88 receptions for 1,214 yards and nine scores.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.