Report: Calvin Johnson paid back more than $1 million to Lions

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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.

25 responses to “Report: Calvin Johnson paid back more than $1 million to Lions

  1. I wish he would have just let them cut him and then went to the packers for 1 season to destroy them and rub it in. And FYI I’m a Texans fan I just would have liked to watch it.

  2. These guys must live in some alternate universe. Who in his right mind expects to be paid after they quit their job or allowed to keep money they were paid in advance for work they were expected to perform?

  3. tjacks7 says:
    Jun 7, 2017 4:56 PM

    These guys must live in some alternate universe. Who in his right mind expects to be paid after they quit their job or allowed to keep money they were paid in advance for work they were expected to perform?
    __________________________________
    That’s right. Who does he think he is, a Democrat public sector union employee?

  4. As far as I recall, CJ hemmed and hawed about his retirement decision and only told them of his decision to retire less than 24 hours after free agency was to commence. It may have been just a couple of hours if I remember correctly.

    That’s kinda in bad taste right there.

  5. Who gave my comment thumbs down? Think about it, the legal tampering period was March 7-9, 2016, and with free agency commencing at 4 pm on March 9. He retired March 8. He could have told them way sooner, instead, they had to throw $7 mil a year at a mediocre #1 WR Marvin Jones.

    CJ did them no favors by taking his sweet ol time, that’s why they were upset, and rightly so.

  6. The players remind us all the time that it’s strictly business, so the rooster came home to roost for Johnson.
    As a Packers fan, I always admired Johnson’s ability and his character while he was in the NFL. He was a good guy and a great player. I wish him good luck going forward.

  7. The article could just as easily say “The Lions let Calvin keep 2.2 million in unearned bonus money as a thank you”

  8. Funny thing is, he probably retired to save the Lions time and energy with cutting him, giving them more time to work on the next crop of players, and they seek part of his bonus back. No Chill Lions!

  9. Whitaker and Trammell: ring
    Thomas and Dumars: rings
    Yzerman and Lidstrom: rings
    Sanders and Johnson: no rings

    Great players and even better people but not champions, regardless of whose fault it is or isn’t.

  10. weepingjebus says:
    Jun 7, 2017 5:10 PM

    Show them their error by coming back and winning a ring! You know where.
    ________________

    Because Calvin retired, the Lions still own his rights. You need to read more.

  11. the fools who blame calvin johnson simply don’t understand that calvin should have just showed up and kept himself on the roster until the lions were forced (due to their unwillingness to pay him the 15.95M in the contract and carry the 24M cap charge the contract dictated) to cut him. Just like jerry jones would have had to cut tony romo if he didn’t retire. but if you think romo is paying back money, i think you’re wrong.

    and the answer to the dude about who expects to get paid for work not done? the same workforce that knows that a club will cancel the contract whenever it isn’t working for the club. that’s why the players always want the signing bonus and the guarantees. this stuff isn’t that complicated. most owners get it and would have let a career guy like calvin (who saved them the 15 million) keep the money already paid. but detroit’s front office isn’t known for getting it, hence their playoff drought of how many years?

  12. tjacks7 says:
    Jun 7, 2017 4:56 PM

    These guys must live in some alternate universe. Who in his right mind expects to be paid after they quit their job or allowed to keep money they were paid in advance for work they were expected to perform?
    __________________________________
    That’s right. Who does he think he is, a Democrat public sector union employee?
    ________________

    No. He probably thinks he’s a tax cheat Republican, refusing to pay contractors who perform work for him.

  13. As a businessman I’m always shocked that clubs would assume 90% of the players still have any money to pay back, and that the smarter ones wouldn’t have it salted away in protected assets.
    I would never pay out 100% of a signing bonus upfront if there was a clawback contingency.
    The NFLPA is heavily criticized, but if they negotiated this concession from the owners, that’s something I’ll bet the owners wouldn’t do in their normal businesses.

  14. If I were in his situation I’d just claim I had migraines or whatever, and get on the injured list. Then I’d stay there until I had all the money that was coming to me.

    Sleazy yes, but so what, we’re talking about millions of dollars he left on the table to just walk away clean. There must have been some animosity even before he called it quits. Seems he just wanted to get away.

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