As the No. 2 overall NFL draft pick from the days before the rookie wage scale, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson signed a huge contract in 2007. And unlike the No. 1 overall pick that year, JaMarcus Russell, Megatron has actually earned his money.
And today Megatron may earn even more: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Johnson is closing in on a $4.5 million bonus as part of an incentive clause in his contract.
Johnson’s contract has a list of goals and stipulates that he gets the bonus if he reaches any five of those goals this season. He has already reached three of the goals by catching 12 touchdown passes, being chosen to the Pro Bowl and playing in at least 80 percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps while the team wins nine games. Today he can get to five of the goals if, at the end of the day, he is the leader in any two of the following four categories:
1. NFC receiving touchdowns (he’s a near-lock to do this, as he has 15 receiving touchdowns already, and the only other player in the NFC with more than 10 is Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson, who has 12 and probably won’t play the entire game today).
2. NFC receiving yards (he’s currently 79 yards ahead of Giants receiver Victor Cruz).
3. NFL receiving touchdowns (he and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski are currently tied).
4. NFL receiving yards (he’s 81 yards behind Patriots receiver Wes Welker).
In other words, Johnson gets his $4.5 million unless Cruz gets 80 more receiving yards than him and Gronkowski gets one more touchdown than him today.
Johnson has one more year on that rookie contract and can become a free agent after the 2012 season. But the Lions are expected to push hard this offseason to get a long-term contract extension with Johnson done. Johnson is a rare high draft pick of the Matt Millen era whom the Lions are more than happy to pay.