As it turns out, former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had at least 680,000 more reasons than previously believed to be salty.
Contrary to a report based on NFLPA records indicating that Johnson paid back $320,000 to the team after retiring in 2016, the Detroit Free Press now reports that Johnson refunded at least $1 million. Technically, he owed $3.2 million in unearned bonus money.
The report provides more context to Johnson’s recent comments suggesting some degree of ill will toward the team.
“I just didn’t feel like I was treated the way I should have been treated on the way out,” Johnson said at the time. “That’s all. I mean, it’s all good. I’m not tripping. I don’t feel any kind of way, just hey, that’s what they did. Hey, it is what is.”
The Lions weren’t required to seek anything from Johnson, who quite possibly would have been cut if he hadn’t retired — especially with a salary of $15.95 million and a cap number of $24 million in 2016. And that continues to be the strangest aspect of Johnson’s decision; he could have simply done nothing, forcing the team to carry a gigantic cap figure or to cut him loose.
As it stands, and as it turns out, Johnson coughed up more than $1 million to avoid the indignity of being cut.