When Andre Johnson didn’t show up to Houston Texans’ voluntary workouts, speculation started to ramp up.
As it turns out, Johnson, at age 33, isn’t too fond of the idea of a rebuilding. Houston has just hired Bill O’Brien and traded their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub (and backup, T.J. Yates). The talent of those two quarterbacks aside, that is a pretty clear signal that there has been a shakeup.
Johnson has been hyper-productive in his career in Houston, almost entirely with Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Might there be a chance the Ravens pursue the perennial Pro Bowler and try to solidify their already fresh-faced offense?
There are two glaring problems with this scenario. First, Andre Johnson signed a 7-year, $67.8 million contract with Houston in 2010, and is still owed about half of that. His cap hits for the next three years are as follows: $14.64m in 2014, $16.14m in 2015 and $14.68m in 2016. As you can see, those numbers don’t exactly mesh with the Ravens $4 million of remaining cap space. If the Ravens were to somehow trade for Andre Johnson, it would hinge on a restructured contract, something that seems unlikely after having just signed Steve Smith Sr. to a three-year deal and facing an extension for Torrey Smith.
The second, bigger, issue with this whole talk is the simple fact that the Houston Texans have no intention of trading Andre Johnson. While the Texans are in “rebuilding” mode, their roster is replete with elite talent. Arian Foster and J.J. Watt are near the top at their respective positions, and the selection of Jadaveon Clowney ensures their talent level won’t degrade moving forward. Having a super productive veteran on the roster to groom the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and DeVier Posey can only come in handy.
At this moment, Andre Johnson hasn’t committed either way in regards to his training camp attendance. The “voluntary” side of the minicamps leaves some room for interpretation as to the direness of this threat from Andre Johnson, however, as one source described it, Johnson’s two choices are, “play for the Texans, or retire.”
It is for these reasons that it is very unlikely the Ravens make a play for Andre Johnson. While he would look fantastic catching passes in M&T Bank Stadium on a full-time basis, the moving parts of this equation lead one to believe it won’t happen.
If you’re looking for a piece of evidence to support the bad prognosis, of all the divisions in the NFL, Andre Johnson’s 68.1 yards per game against AFC North opponents is the lowest of all divisions. And his two touchdowns scored versus AFC North teams are the fewest of any division with more than eight games played. Both of those touchdowns were against the Ravens.