So why is Andre Johnson frustrated? He didn’t say directly, but it doesn’t take a genius (which qualifies me to handle it) to figure the situation out.
Coupled with his remarks from last November, when it first became clear that he was perhaps ready to move on from Houston, Johnson’s frustration undoubtedly flows from the team’s refusal to entertain the possibility of trading or cutting him.
For 2014, Johnson’s contract allows the team to keep him at a reasonable salary of $6.5 million. He’s also due to earn a $1 million roster bonus as of Week One, but he needs to participate in a sufficient number of offseason workouts to get there. By boycotting the first several weeks of the program, he undoubtedly has blown the bonus — making it even cheaper for the Texans to keep him this year.
Next season, Johnson’s salary bumps to $10.5 million. That’s the point at which the team likely will decide that his remaining skills no longer justify the financial investment.
The cap hit for moving on also would be lower next year, with only $7.39 million in total remaining dead money remaining on the final two years of Johnson’s contract. Then again, they could trade him after June 1 of this year, carrying the $4.6 million in cap space that will apply to 2014 whether he’s on the team or not, and avoiding $6.5 million in cash and cap space.
Given that the Texans had added no receivers via veteran free agency or the draft, it seems that they intend to keep Johnson. And since they know him well after 11 seasons with the team, they surely assume he’ll set aside his frustrations when the time comes to play.
UPDATE 2:08 p.m. ET: Johnson’s 2014 base salary has escalated to $10 million based on his performance in 2013. Which means that the Texas would avoid an extra $3.5 million if he is traded or cut this year.