The Houston Texans were by far the biggest disappointment last season. Their record went from 12-4 during the 2012 season to 2-14 record last season. This led to a very busy offseason for the Texans, which included drafting former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and trading quarterback Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders. In addition to this, they also hired a new head coach in Bill O'Brien, was Penn State's head coach, and a new coaching staff. It appeared that things were getting better for the Texans after Andre Johnson, their best wide receiver, told the team that he would participate in offseason workouts. However, that all changed on Friday.
On Friday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that there are four teams that are interested in trading for Johnson. Johnson had been making good progress with the team that it is a big surprise seeing it breakdown so quickly. One contributing factor in this breakdown is the team's structure.
They are in the midst of rebuilding; as evidenced by their two previously mentioned offseason moves. Johnson has been with the team since the 2003 season and he has experienced a lot of losing seasons. Since the Texans drafted Johnson third-overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, they have reached the eight-win plateau only five times. It took him nine seasons, 2011 season, for him to reach the playoffs. Considering how much losing he has experienced in his career, it should not be a surprise that he does not want to participate in another rebuilding process. That was the original reason why he wanted out, but an additional reason has recently been revealed.
Johnson is about to enter the fifth-year of his seven-year, $67.80 million contract. He has been so compliant in recent years that he reportedly restructured his contract, at the team's request, the past three seasons. His base salary this season is $10 million and his additional money includes a $1 million bonus for attending offseason workouts. Even though he missed some of those workouts, he reportedly told the Texans that he is willing to participate in additional workouts to earn that money. The Texans refused this request, which means that they will most likely not give him that $1 million bonus. Johnson apparently did not take the team declining his request lightly since he has once again demanded a trade.
As mentioned earlier, Rapport reported that there are four teams that are interested in trading for Johnson. His report did not mention which teams are interested in trading for Johnson. This has led to plenty of speculation among the media and NFL fans. Nearly every team would ideally love to have Johnson on his team based on his tremendous NFL success. He has been the team's de-facto, reliable, top receiving option since he entered the league in 2003. In 11 seasons, he has 927 catches for 12,661 yards and 61 touchdowns. He can definitely be an upgrade to a lot of different teams' receiving corps.
There are 29 teams that have salary cap space. Having salary cap space is great, but it will not be enough to land Johnson. It appears that if Johnson gets traded, then he will end up on a playoff or championship contender. This makes it nearly impossible for non-contenders, like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Minnesota Vikings, of being able to land him. The New England Patriots makes the most sense to try to acquire Johnson.
The last time Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady had a receiver that was a tremendous deep threat and pass catcher was Randy Moss. In 52 games with the Patriots over four seasons, Moss totaled 259 catches for 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns. The Patriots could not acquire Larry Fitzgerald during the offseason, but landing Johnson would give Brady a legitimate chance to win another Super Bowl. Even though Johnson has requested to be traded, this does not mean that the Texans will follow through with his request.
A happy 33-year-old Johnson would be great for a rebuilding team like the Texans. Johnson would be able to provide great advice to his younger teammates and be a great mediator between the coaching staff and his teammates. It is unknown what the Texans would want in return for him. The most likely trade scenario for the Texans, if they choose to trade Johnson, would be to acquire between two to four draft picks. The Texans could probably satisfy Johnson, for at least the near future, if they promised him his offseason workout bonus. He has done so much for the team and is a huge reason why they have achieved success in their young franchise's history; since the 2002 season. Their decision to keep or trade Johnson will have a big impact on their success in the near future.
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