MARCH 9: The Colts announced that they’ve released Johnson.
MARCH 4: To no one’s surprise, the Colts have told wide receiver Andre Johnson that they will be releasing him, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. A February report had suggested that Johnson had played his last down in Indianapolis.
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After spending 12 seasons in Houston, Johnson signed a three-year, $21MM contract with the Colts a year ago, and looked poised to enjoy the benefits of catching balls from Andrew Luck after playing with a cavalcade of mediocre quarterbacks over the years with the Texans. However, Luck missed more than half the season, and Johnson struggled, averaging a career-low 31.4 receiving yards per game. For the season, he had 41 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns, easily the worst full-season marks of his career.
Given how weak this year’s free agent market for wide receivers is, Johnson would likely receive interest from a handful of teams when he officially becomes available. But for a player who averaged more than 1,100 receiving yards per season during the first 12 years of his career, earning seven Pro Bowl nods during that time, last year’s drop-off was precipitous.
Nonetheless, agent Kennard McGuire recently indicated that his client isn’t contemplating retirement, telling Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) that Johnson doesn’t intend to call it a career anytime soon. “Retirement hasn’t been discussed,” McGuire said. “Andre is training and preparing for next season.”
Half of Johnson’s $5MM base salary for 2016 is fully guaranteed, so releasing the veteran wideout will leave $2.5MM in dead money on the Colts’ books. However, the club will clear the other half of that salary and will avoid paying Johnson a $2.5MM roster bonus, creating $5MM in overall cap savings for the coming season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.