Andre Johnson is a beast!
And apparently he is a beast looking to be unleashed from Houston.
Naturally the stud receiver starved fans of Baltimore want Ozzie Newsome to wave his magic wand and for Gary Kubiak to sprinkle some purple stardust into the eyes of the Texans front office and bring AJ to Charm City. After all, Johnson is coming off a spectacular season in 2013 when he hauled in 109 passes for 1,407 yards and 5 TD’s despite some suspect play at quarterback.
No one understands the impact of Johnson more than Kubiak and clearly the Texans before him who have migrated to Baltimore have been successful.
But there are two big factors weighing against such a move – age and money.
Johnson will be 33 before he takes the practice field during training camp this summer. He is also owed $10M in base salary in 2014 according to the terms of his current contract and he’s scheduled to make $10.5M and $11M in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
It is highly doubtful that Johnson will ever see that money.
You have to wonder why Johnson is now chirping about moving on from Houston. If the Texans trade Johnson they will be free of that big salary and they will save $3.68M in cap space according to OverTheCap.com.
Bringing attention to himself through his outspoken displeasures also brings attention to his gaudy paycheck. That weakens the leverage for both Johnson and the team.
Of course Johnson could be more interested in winning than he is the money at this point in his career and perhaps he is willing to accept a more cap friendly deal to play for a team that might advance to the Super Bowl.
The operative word is “friendly”.
Sure, it would be nice to have AJ join the Ravens, maybe turn his 2014 salary into bonus and amortize it over 3 seasons but even then you are looking at a cap hit of over $4M in 2014 when you factor in the veteran minimum salary.
That represents 67% of the team’s available cap space – space that might be more wisely allocated for a veteran offensive lineman and/or a nickel corner.
Now had Haloti Ngata and the Ravens reached an agreement on an extension…