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So why are the Texans playing hardball with Andre Johnson?

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If the Texans could have brought receiver Andre 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.

Maybe he eventually decides to not lose any additional money, and to show up and happily cash $10 million in game checks.  Maybe, by Johnson asking for the $1 million back, the Texans have gambled on Johnson not giving up $30,000 per day in fines for skipping training camp and, ultimately, more than $588,000 per week for missing games as of September.

Or maybe the Texans have decided that they don’t want Johnson — and they’ve opted to take a hard line on the $1 million so that they’ll be able to unload via trade his $10 million salary.

Keep this in mind:  Whoever leaked news of the $1 million bonus also leaked that four teams are interested in trading for Johnson.  Which means that the leak probably came from someone who wants to see Johnson traded.

Usually, that points to the player and/or his agent.  In this case, there’s a chance that the Texans have decided that they don’t want to pay $10 million to a 33-year-old receiver, and that now is the best time to turn the asset into something of value.

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61 Responses to “So why are the Texans playing hardball with Andre Johnson?”
  1. raiderufan says: Jul 10, 2014 3:29 PM

    They drafted a guy to replace Johnson and they need to find a QB of the future. No 33 y/o WR (even my man AJ) is worth 10 million on a close but needs some pretty crucial parts team.

    Move him for a first next year and have some ammo available so that if the year goes above average but not great you haven’t played your team out of a great young QB and you don’t need to mortgage future drafts either.

    Happy team, happy long time great, future security….or you know, keep your 33 y/o WR and go no where still. Up to them I guess.

  2. jerrysbrother says: Jul 10, 2014 3:31 PM

    I am glad to see the Texan tell him no on working out some way for him to make the Mil back. Those fines are in his contract and he knew it. So why let him miss camp and then so, oh we were kidding, you can show up when every you decide to and miss when ever you decide and we will still give you your money. Hats off to the Texans

  3. jjackwagon says: Jul 10, 2014 3:35 PM

    Too late to turn a depreciating asset into something of value, the smart trading partner doesn’t give more than a 4th rounder.

  4. joeflaccoallday says: Jul 10, 2014 3:35 PM

    Texans are a joke now. You don’t want the best player in your franchise’s history anymore over 1 million when this dude restructured his contract everytime they asked him to and watched Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald get $100 mil contracts but never held out of camp. The same franchise that hasn’t paid JJ Watt yet after his elite 3 years with the team. Andre Johnson has every right to do what he’s doing and I now want him to go to a contender because let’s be honest, the Texans just make Ryan Fitzpatrick as their 2014 starting QB. That just says it all.

  5. reed20fence says: Jul 10, 2014 3:37 PM

    The Ravens have been down this road of not wanting to pay a 30 something beast of a WR. It didn’t work out too well for us. One year later we were 8-8, out of the playoffs by the skin of our teeth after 5 years and ended up paying millions to get another 30 something WR.

    Learn from our errors Texans.

  6. scrp2 says: Jul 10, 2014 3:41 PM

    Texans aren’t rebuilding?? I guess Andre’s not invited to the new Texans dynasty.

  7. adoombray says: Jul 10, 2014 3:42 PM

    Why should they re-work their contract like that? he has never been underpaid at any point in his career and knew what he was doing. The Texans owe him nothing. Bill O’Brien was brought in because he doesn’t put up with BS like that.

  8. steelerben says: Jul 10, 2014 3:43 PM

    Andre Johnson is the best player the team can afford to lose. That means he’s their best chance of getting additional draft selections through a trade. He is the only player whose replacement is already on the roster. This is the likely the last season where they could get enough value out of trading him.

    Johnson was annoyed by the direction the team was headed after a very frustrating season, made a bluff and it was called.

  9. nouhoh64 says: Jul 10, 2014 3:49 PM

    Why?..because thar’s a new sheriff in town…learned from an hombre called Bellichick they say.

  10. gunpowderjones says: Jul 10, 2014 3:52 PM

    Also would have been a nice way to motivate Johnson to perform at his absolute best. This makes no sense to me.

  11. Marshawn Lunch says: Jul 10, 2014 3:59 PM

    No team is going to give up a 1st round pick for a 33 year old receiver who’s due to earn $10 million from his current team.

  12. txtuff says: Jul 10, 2014 4:02 PM

    First of all nobody but Johnson and the Texans know the 100% truth. So to wrote this post like this is what happened is a joke. 2nd Johnson is the one that made his bed by not showing up to earn the bonus, it’s called a bonus for a reason. Those talking about Johnson redoing his contact three years in a roll to help the Texans, yes but he also helped himself. Not one did he give up money on any of those, in fact he got more money up front every time. 3rd nobody is going to trade a first round pick for a WR at his age no matter who it is. So at the end of the day he will be playing as a Houston Texan, he is under contract.

  13. themeccalambeaufield says: Jul 10, 2014 4:04 PM

    What is with wanting to coddle him you of all people should know he should abide by his contract. Just because they are rebuilding he cant stomp his feet and say I am not going to show up.

  14. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 10, 2014 4:04 PM

    I just want to know why they didn’t trade him in the past instead of winning with him. I don’t need an explanation for why the team didn’t win, that part I figured out by myself.

  15. jackericsson says: Jul 10, 2014 4:07 PM

    or another reason- maybe honor the contract? He made the decision to walk away from $1 Million, now live with it.

  16. realdealsteel says: Jul 10, 2014 4:07 PM

    Well, Johnson is a big number on their cap. That’s one big problem in itself. If Johnson really wants to leave so badly, then why doesn’t he renegotiate a new contract that will allow him to be moved more easily?

    If it’s really all about getting that ring, then he too must make some sacrifices too.

  17. mashoaf says: Jul 10, 2014 4:08 PM

    I guess the team doesn’t remember him reworking his contract to help them out in salary cap the other year. I expect other Texan players to not rework their contacts so they do not get hosed as well.

  18. karlsrath says: Jul 10, 2014 4:09 PM

    Glad he got to know his (k)new coaching staff but wonder if he ever knew it.

  19. obamareallysucks says: Jul 10, 2014 4:10 PM

    he’s just not that good anymore. too old and a low IQ

  20. farmmbig says: Jul 10, 2014 4:10 PM

    Is a “schism” worse than a “fracture”?

    I would have thought a fracture is worse than a schism.

  21. lacarious says: Jul 10, 2014 4:14 PM

    “get to know the knew coaching staff”

    nice editing…

    andre can go ask the niners how teams feel about giving players a chance to earn back money they lost in off-season workouts.

  22. silverandblack052099 says: Jul 10, 2014 4:16 PM

    Please trade him to the Raiders!

  23. karlsrath says: Jul 10, 2014 4:17 PM

    lol ya i caught it the 1st time i read the article.

  24. dcapettini says: Jul 10, 2014 4:21 PM

    Nobody is going to pay him $10M and give up a high draft pick. he/they are dreaming if they think that dog will hunt. The interesting question is why he blew off the Mill in the first place. I mean a Mill is a Mill. That’s not chump change to anybody. My guess is that he is paying very close attention to the terms of his contract and the NFLPA contract right now.

  25. 6ball says: Jul 10, 2014 4:26 PM

    .
    Bill Obrien is not doing well playing hardball. The Vikings burned him in the draft by trading up to take Bridgewater with the last pick in the first round. Then the Patriots grabbed Garopollo with pick 29 in round 2.

    Now he has an inadequate QB situation, coupled with an insurrection in the making over the Johnson situation.

    And for the record : players side with fellow players, and not some dude who just got off the bus from Happy Valley.
    .

  26. maestro1899 says: Jul 10, 2014 4:30 PM

    What a terrible move, Texans.

    He is one of their leaders, best players and most-respected guys in the locker room. You don’t have to worry about this guy off the field.

    He is the only guy on the roster who can regularly take one of those little Fitzsimmon slants and turn it into a 40 yd, 50 yd, 60 yd TD. Outside of a RB coming off a bad years with multiple games missed, he is their ONLY proven weapon on offense.

    All over $1 million.

  27. anactualnflowner says: Jul 10, 2014 4:30 PM

    The question should not be “Why aren’t the Texans amending the contract to give Andre the money he didn’t earn as outlined in the contract?”

    It should be… “Why would Andre think he could violate the terms of his agreement and expect the Texans to honor that portion of it?”

  28. holla2626 says: Jul 10, 2014 4:40 PM

    Sign and trade – 3 year deal worth $20-$25 mil with big signing bonus and back loaded cap hits. I would trade a 3rd or worse for that deal.

  29. greenlantern75 says: Jul 10, 2014 4:46 PM

    Checking Over the cap, and AJ is a prime candidate to be released in 2015 with >$8M cap save be cutting.

    So…perhaps both parties see the writing on the wall, and know this year is going to be a rebuild anyway.

    Time to move on….

  30. pittsburghdamned says: Jul 10, 2014 4:49 PM

    Ridiculous. You’d set a standard for every clown holding out that you aren’t really going to lose any of that pay no matter what you pull.

    He took the stand, now own it.

  31. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 10, 2014 4:56 PM

    joeflaccoallday says:
    Jul 10, 2014 3:35 PM

    Texans are a joke now. You don’t want the best player in your franchise’s history anymore over 1 million when this dude restructured his contract everytime they asked him to and watched Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald get $100 mil contracts but never held out of camp. The same franchise that hasn’t paid JJ Watt yet after his elite 3 years with the team. Andre Johnson has every right to do what he’s doing and I now want him to go to a contender because let’s be honest, the Texans just make Ryan Fitzpatrick as their 2014 starting QB. That just says it all.
    ______________________

    How’d overpaying Joe Flacco work out for you guys…. ?

  32. elmaxoh says: Jul 10, 2014 5:29 PM

    That’s not about the one million … Andre wants to win … he wants to have a chance to win and he knows that he has not very much time left .

    So when he looks around him and see a ‘quarterback competition’ with Fitzpatrick in there .. he KNOWS he’s not going to win in there and I understand the guy .

  33. joefelicelli says: Jul 10, 2014 5:31 PM

    I think at this point there are only two ways to go:
    1. Texans make him play this year, and cut him after the season. Disgruntled WR is never a good thing, especially when self-preservation takes precedent over winning.
    2. Trade him, but don’t let him pick the team. Let Cleveland and Oakland bid on him and send him there to close out his career.

    I would go with #2, because even if I get a 3rd rounder for him, it’s better than option 1.

    It’s sad, because AJ has been one of the better receivers in the league for many years, and no one talked about him because he didn’t talk about himself. He picked a bad time to start…

  34. ragnarthemagnificent says: Jul 10, 2014 5:37 PM

    If a guy doesn’t adhere to the guidelines why should they let him get the punishment revoked ie $ back? It says to the other guys, “hey we got these rules but we don’t really enforce them” and we all know how that kind of parenting works out.

    Also, “know the knew coaching staff” – just awful.

  35. broncostevenp says: Jul 10, 2014 5:45 PM

    If the texans were smart they would trade Johnson to Denver for Wes Welker (who is only on a 1 year deal) and get some draft picks. Denver would have the cap room because I believe Welkers cap number is 8 million this year. Naaahhh Welker going back to Texas makes too much sense. It will never happen.

  36. 1rockyracoon says: Jul 10, 2014 5:45 PM

    Good for the Texans. Johnson had the easy opportunity to earn the money in the first place–show up for work. The reality of being a 33 year old playing in a young man’s league is about to hit him square int the face. He will play for several more seasons, but his salary won’t reach the $10 million mark.

  37. broncostevenp says: Jul 10, 2014 5:45 PM

    Oh and Broncos throw in Brock Osweiller.

  38. jcus says: Jul 10, 2014 6:08 PM

    Trade AJ, pay JJ, get the ball to Arian and get a QB in the next draft. Let’s move on..

  39. kissbillsrings says: Jul 10, 2014 6:20 PM

    Because they can!!!

  40. 52lightsxout52 says: Jul 10, 2014 6:23 PM

    He did it to himself. He should’ve fulfilled his part of the deal and showed up for workouts. I wish I could skip out on work and come back with demands that I be compensated for the days I decided to miss. Earth to Mr. Johnson: Welcome to the Real World!

  41. elliottcovert says: Jul 10, 2014 6:31 PM

    At this point, I don’t see why the Patriots and Texans don’t straight up trade Ryan Mallett for Johnson. The Pats need one (and really only one) clear cut number one receiver, and Mallett isn’t going to do anything for the Patriots this year and is certainly going to walk next year, plus they drafted another quarterback with a high pick this past year. Each one has something that the other one wants, so why not just pull the trigger?

  42. vusnu says: Jul 10, 2014 6:37 PM

    New coach, new regime. O’Brien wants his own guys to build a program around, and I suspect that a 33 y.o. Johnson, whose best years are well behind him, doesn’t fit into the team’s long term plans.

  43. dmc1542 says: Jul 10, 2014 6:47 PM

    ^^Not to mention the ties between coaches…. makes too much sense

  44. ragingsea says: Jul 10, 2014 7:58 PM

    So, did he get to no the knew coaching staff?

  45. djaehne says: Jul 10, 2014 8:36 PM

    Would anyone here want to trade the best player on their team if he’s signed for future years just because he says he wants out. Didn’t think so.

  46. eoyguy says: Jul 10, 2014 9:23 PM

    I just want to no what he new and win he gnu it!

  47. billsfan1 says: Jul 10, 2014 9:45 PM

    They drafted a guy to replace Johnson and they need to find a QB of the future. No 33 y/o WR (even my man AJ) is worth 10 million on a close but needs some pretty crucial parts team.

    Move him for a first next year and have some ammo available so that if the year goes above average but not great you haven’t played your team out of a great young QB

    so he is not worth 10 million but someone will give up a 1st? ok buddy

  48. billsfan1 says: Jul 10, 2014 9:47 PM

    I wish I could skip out on work and come back with demands that I be compensated for the days I decided to miss. Earth to Mr. Johnson: Welcome to the Real World!

    you are.. its called sick time, or PTO time…

  49. billsfan1 says: Jul 10, 2014 9:50 PM

    And for the record : players side with fellow players, and not some dude who just got off the bus from Happy Valley.

    lol the same guy who convinced how many players to stay at PEnn St after the who crapshow and they he bailed on them

  50. rohlo says: Jul 10, 2014 10:01 PM

    elliottcovert says:
    Jul 10, 2014 6:31 PM
    At this point, I don’t see why the Patriots and Texans don’t straight up trade Ryan Mallett for Johnson. The Pats need one (and really only one) clear cut number one receiver, and Mallett isn’t going to do anything for the Patriots this year and is certainly going to walk next year, plus they drafted another quarterback with a high pick this past year. Each one has something that the other one wants, so why not just pull the trigger?

    ——————–

    heres the reason, texans will get hit with a huge cap hit if they trade him let alone release him and it will also casue them to have dead money next year of 10 million dollars if he is released or traded..why would the texans strap themselves to help a wr they have taken care of finacially thur his whole career? the texans have obliged AJ twice when he wanted hsi contracts redone for more money..the team isnt gonna put themselves in bad situation just to appease him..also why would the texans tradefor mallett when he is a free agent next offseeason?if he walks then they would be left with a huge cap hit from trading AJ and also be left with dead money as well..texans cant just give away johnson!!! for them to have to be hit with those two issues they will have to be compensated greatly!!!

  51. jagsfanugh says: Jul 10, 2014 10:04 PM

    Sweet, now they are going to have to over pay to get free agents. Smart move.

  52. gt40bear says: Jul 10, 2014 10:25 PM

    Maybe because for as good as he’s supposed to be, he is seemingly always hurt! Admittedly an outsider non-Texan fan but seems like every time you look up, he is injured. Can’t make the Hall from the tub.

  53. lightofkolob says: Jul 10, 2014 10:53 PM

    Because Rick Smith is a horrible GM

  54. randomcommenter says: Jul 10, 2014 11:59 PM

    O’Brien knows he doesn’t need him. His system does not require great WRs, just good route runners.

    Johnson has slowed down too. He’s still very good but he’s more of a possession WR now.

    Johnson will be nearly used up by the time Tom Savage becomes a decent starter.

  55. dtlb58 says: Jul 11, 2014 1:37 AM

    Let’s not forget the new HC is coming from a place where his mentor won SB’s not paying/playing 1st rd big name WR’s but journey men. I’m thinking the new guys are saying if the player doesn’t want to be here 100% and he is making $10 Million. Let’s just move on. He wasn’t our pick.

  56. s0merand0mguy says: Jul 11, 2014 1:51 AM

    All I know is, hes most likely going to be an Eagle. I mean my team does have some love affair with the Texans and do have the cap room. DeMeco Ryans, Bryan Braman, James Casey, Andrew Gardner, Roc Carmichael… And soon to be Andre Johnson. Chip does want big bodied receivers!

  57. bornahawker says: Jul 11, 2014 10:00 AM

    Either way, Andre moving to a winner is good for both parties. Lets play guess the teams, Jets, Browns, Giants, & Panthers. Now, what team can be a winner now? Giants or Panthers? Good luck Andre .

  58. jjackwagon says: Jul 11, 2014 10:14 AM

    silverandblack052099 says:
    Jul 10, 2014 4:16 PM

    Please trade him to the Raiders!
    ———————————————————-
    YES….PLEASE trade him to the Raiders!!

    Sincerely,
    the rest of the AFC West

  59. mkelly534 says: Jul 11, 2014 11:09 AM

    Teams love to talk about the sanctity of the contract as long as it benefits them. Of course when the contract no longer benefits the team it does not matter that they agreed to a deal. A team will cut a player or strong arm him to renegotiate whenever they have leverage. It is a pity that some many fans align with the owners instead of the players since the vast majority of fans have far more in common with the players than the owners. Of course people often side against their own best interests in this country

  60. bucckevin says: Jul 11, 2014 3:22 PM

    Jesus… just trade him to the Patriots for the 32nd pick.

  61. arcuesta730 says: Jul 13, 2014 11:49 PM

    Actually, a trade of Johnson for Denver’s Wes Welker makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Both are 33yrs old. Both are still viable options in an offense. Welker would only be on a 1 year deal, so Houston would be free to renegotiate his contract next year. Conversely, Denver would have the cap room because Welker’s cap number is 8 million this year, and AJ would most likely be willing to rework his contract to fall within that Cap space. Both have in-house replacements. Welker has Emmanuel Sanders, and Jonhson has DeAndre Hopkins. Lastly, Welker would be going back home to Texas (he attended Texas Tech U.) And can you imagine a receiving corps consisting of Johnson, Demarius Thomas, Julius Thomas, & Emmanuel Sanders….w/ Peyton @ QB….YIKES!!

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