“I have spoken to Calvin, I did speak to Calvin, I’m not going to go into any details about what we talked about, and there is no update on his status right now,” Quinn said. “I don’t have any expectations. We had a good conversation. He didn’t tell me if he’s leaning one way or the other. We’re giving him time to make that decision. There’s no deadline.”
Asked about trying to get Johnson to accept a restructured contract, Quinn said the subject hasn’t even come up within the Lions organization, let alone talking to Johnson about it.
“We haven’t even gotten to that point yet. That’s something that, if that does come down the road, we may talk about it, we may not. We haven’t even broached that topic yet, internally or externally,” Quinn said.
It’s awfully hard to believe that the Lions haven’t even discussed Johnson’s contract internally. Johnson’s cap hit this season is $24 million, the biggest cap hit on the team and the fifth-biggest cap hit in the entire NFL. How could the new G.M. not have had any internal discussions about the biggest contract he inherited?
The reality is, if Johnson isn’t willing to take a pay cut, Quinn would probably prefer that Johnson retire and give the team some cap relief. Quinn just doesn’t want to say so publicly, because he doesn’t want to be perceived as the guy who pushed a popular star player out the door. So Quinn will continue to say that Johnson is free to take his time deciding on retirement. But eventually, if Johnson refuses to say one way or the other whether he’s going to play, Quinn may decide that he has to cut Johnson, and use that money on bolstering the rest of the roster.