There is a strange situation going on in Houston. Star WR Andre Johnson wasn’t thrilled when the team made a coaching change. He read this as a rebuilding phase and since he’ll be 33 this season didn’t want any part of that. After meeting with coach Bill O’Brien, Johnson changed his mind. He wanted to mend fences with the team. That’s when things went strange. Per PFT:
If the Texans could have brought receiverAndre Johnson back into the fold by simply giving him a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus he had forfeited by skipping the early phases of the offseason program, why didn’t they?
Before delving into the question, consider this. It’s true and accurate, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, that Johnson offered to show up for OTAs and minicamp in exchange for a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus — and that the Texans said thanks and no. Johnson’s olive branch came after he took some time to get to know the knew coaching staff, and after he concluded that the franchise hasn’t plunged into a full-blown rebuilding process. Johnson was ready to show up and get to work, with his only request being that the organization give him a way to earn the money that hinged on his full participation in the offseason program.
That was it. That’s all he wanted. And the Texans said no.
For now, the fracture has become a full-blown schism. After the team refused to give him a way to earn back the money, Johnson became committed to the idea of playing elsewhere.
So why didn’t the Texans simply let Johnson save a little face and in turn a lot of money? If there’s a rational explanation, the explanation has yet to make its way into the eyes and ears of the media. While it shows the other players on the team that contracts will be honored as written, it undermines, and potentially poisons, the relationship with Johnson.
Sure sounds like things will probably be over between Houston and Johnson. It isn’t like he’s a high-maintenance prima donna. Johnson is a classy veteran and probably the best player in Texans history. Weird.
If the Texans put Johnson on the market, should the Eagles have interest?
If the question was simply about Johnson, the answer would be yes. But he’s not a free agent. Compensation is a factor. Johnson is a band-aid. I would not give up a pick for him. He’s older and expensive. Is he a good player? Yes. But the Eagles don’t need a workhorse WR, which is what Johnson is best at.
Let’s talk about age for a minute. The Eagles gave up a 5th round pick for Darren Sproles. What about that? Sproles is 31. He also impacts STs as well as offense. Sproles cost a cheap pick and has a reasonable salary. Johnson is a starting player. He would cost a higher pick and bigger salary. Do you want to add a 33-year old WR when the current group is young and has potential?
If this were mid-August and someone had gotten hurt, then you make a deal. Right now the Eagles are healthy and WR isn’t a position of “need”. I’m sure several of you will point out that Jeremy Maclin is coming off an ACL tear and that the Eagles have a couple of rookies in key roles. That’s true. But Maclin has looked good so far and the goal is to build up a young corps of WRs. The Eagles need to get Matthews, Huff, Benn and the others on the field.
Johnson is a bit of an awkward fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. He certainly has the size and physicality that Kelly loves. But I’m not so sure that Johnson is what Kelly wants. Johnson is a guy you feed the ball to. In 5 of the last 8 years, Johnson has caught 100 or more passes. I think Kelly prefers to spread the ball and use multiple guys. I’m also curious whether Johnson is all that much of a threat after the catch anymore. He averaged just 3.8 RAC yards per reception. Johnson was 2nd in the NFL in RAC yards in 2012. Did age start to catch up or was he merely struggling due to an overall offensive letdown?
I see Johnson as the kind of player you add if you are desperate for WR help or a veteran team that is looking for that push to get them over the top. The Eagles don’t fit either category so I think they pass on him.
Then again, I didn’t expect them to go for Sproles so never say never. Just seems unlikely to me.