Calvin Johnson could easily secure free agency, if he wants to

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Setting aside for now the fact that teams reaching out to receiver Calvin Johnson about a potential return to football are tampering, there’s a specific procedure that would allow Johnson to get back to football any time he wants.

All he has to do is show up.

Specifically, he simply has to notify the Commissioner that Johnson will be ending his retirement and reporting to the Lions. At that moment, his $16 million salary from 2016 would immediately hit the books — along with a $16 million cap number. And with the Lions, according to the NFLPA, currently having less than $8 million in cap space, they would have to move quickly to avoid being out of compliance.

The quickest, easiest move would be to release Johnson, which would make him a free agent immediately.

Another way to handle the issue would entail teams interested in Johnson reaching out to negotiate a face-saving trade for the Lions, which would allow them to get a little something in exchange for letting Johnson go. However, Johnson’s cap number gives him the upper hand.

Nine years ago, when Brett Favre returned to the Packers and brought with him a $12 million cap number, the Packers had the cap space to accommodate him while they figured out a trade. The Lions don’t have that luxury.

So if Johnson, who ostensibly retired for health reasons but who has in recent months made clear that his lack of faith in the Lions’ ability to win a Super Bowl was a significant factor, sees a chance to chase a ring, it would be easy for him to do it. The only question left to answer is whether he wants to.

44 responses to “Calvin Johnson could easily secure free agency, if he wants to

  1. We’d love to have him in Green Bay. I hope he can play guard, inside linebacker, and cornerback as well…

  2. It would be great to see Calvin join a real football team and have a legitimate chance at the playoffs and a possible Superbowl run. Being stuck on the miserable Lions all those years must have been torturous and obviously the shame/embarrassment lead to his early forced retirement.

  3. The issue is Calvin Johnson doesn’t want to deal with the Detroit Lions organization who own his rights and was told they would never trade him so he doesn’t want to make it ugly for the organization that he would possibly go down as a Hall of Fame for who would probably retire his number Calvin Johnson is not a controversial guy he’s always been extremely hardworking and humble so if someone has a way to make it SMOOTH for him to simply go play for a Superbowl caliber team YOU CAN HAVE 1 OF THE BEST RECEIVERS TO PLAY IN NFL HISTORY!! I believe Jerry Jones can get it done he has to call

  4. Well, there’s really only one team you can join to go chasing a ring this year, and they’re pretty stacked at receiver. Although, they could probably find room for a receiver of his talent and they did do incredible things the last time they had one…

  5. Depending on their cap space, depth at WR,he’d be a great addition to the already very good Raiders. They’re good enough that they could give him plenty of time to get in shape. They’re more than good enough so they wouldn’t need to play him a ton in the regular season. Which might keep him healthy and fresh for the playoffs. Defenses would have some matchup problems with Amari Cooper and Johnson to cover at the same time.

  6. “Of course a trade means the new team has to take on $16 M immediate cap hit too.”

    That’s not true. He’s free to tell the Lions he won’t renegotiate a contract with them but he can do so with a new team if he wants to. The Lions would have to accept he’s not going back there, that they might as well get something in trade and allow him to negotiate with other teams.

  7. They could cut Ngata ($5,703,125) and Whitehead ($3,487,500) for an extra $9+ million in cap space without a big loss in talent.

    Not sure what you mean by “easily secure free agency.” That’s just wrong.

  8. Calvin contacts Lions.

    Lions cut two players.

    Calvin has to play for the Lions.

    He is under contract. If he says he gets to play anywhere he wants, why even have a draft or contracts?

  9. PatSwinagain says:
    August 13, 2017 at 11:10 am
    If he went to NE…I can see the heads exploding like popcorn! I can also see them scream collusion right before the pop!

    ===============================================================

    as a patriots fan, i wanna say, stop making all articles into patriots comment boards. thats why other fans hate us so much. besides the patriots dont want this guy. what on earth do we need an expensive old banged up used to be amazing player, that plays the deepest position talent pool wise in the nfl? hes done!!

  10. Detroit should have already worked out potential trades. Johnson is the “bad guy” here, not the Lions. If he shows up, I would immediately trade him to the Jets for a 7th round pick in 2019 and an agreement to go after and then split any bonus money still owed should he retire again before the season ends.

  11. The Lions front office just refuses to learn from past mistakes. They pulled the same BS with Barry and they are doing it again with CJ.

    I am happy that CJ has the fortitude to call them out about it, even if he pulled his punches too much for my liking. Players of the caliber of Barry and CJ, with the incredible work they put in to be the absolute best, deserve the chance to prove it with a legitimate opportunity to win a championship in the waning days of their career and for both it wasn’t happening in Detroit.

    Holding onto a players rights because you can doesn’t make it right, it makes you small and petty. The Loins are the petulant spoiled brat child that screams “No NO NOO! this is my toy and no one else can play with it!!”

    And people wonder why this team has only won one playoff game in 60 years……

    I don’t.

    40+ year Lions fan. Admitted glutton for punishment.

  12. Calvin just might have the talent to become a New England Patriot. The attraction of playing for the best coach and with the greatest player of all time, not to mention the certainty of always being in the playoffs and getting a home ground advantage with a minimum 14 – 2 season, must be very compelling. The real question is whether Calvin really wants to play and whether he thinks he can put in the hard work required for success.

  13. elyasm says:
    August 13, 2017 at 10:18 am
    Well, there’s really only one team you can join to go chasing a ring this year, and they’re pretty stacked at receiver. Although, they could probably find room for a receiver of his talent and they did do incredible things the last time they had one…
    __________________________________________

    You’re right. The Giants are stacked at WR but they would certainly find room for this future Hall of Famer.

    Just remember little bro, we own you.
    21-17 XLVI
    17-14 XLII

    #18-1 Lol

  14. With Megatron’s skills,it would be nice to see him play for a contender. Of course, I would love to see him come to New England,which most likely would make a ton of people unhappy. I’ll just stick with seeing him play for a contender… I just like watching him play.

  15. He could rejoin the Lions…but lie down on the field when the national anthem is played…
    That could get him out of town in a hurry…

  16. Back injuries, leg injuries, ankle injuries, broken fingers and concussions. Time to move on with my multi-millions and enjoy life.

  17. @ hashfest says:

    Calvin contacts Lions.

    Lions cut two players.

    Calvin has to play for the Lions.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    You didn’t read or comprehend the situation. He’s due $16 million and Lions only have $8 million in cap space. So Lions have to cut $8 million or trade him or release him.

  18. spartylegendhyzersmadcuzlionssobad says:
    August 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    It would be great to see Calvin join a real football team and have a legitimate chance at the playoffs and a possible Superbowl run. Being stuck on the miserable Lions all those years must have been torturous and obviously the shame/embarrassment lead to his early forced retirement.
    …….
    You’re an adult???

  19. jonwill57 says:
    August 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    @ hashfest says:

    Calvin contacts Lions.

    Lions cut two players.

    Calvin has to play for the Lions.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    You didn’t read or comprehend the situation. He’s due $16 million and Lions only have $8 million in cap space. So Lions have to cut $8 million or trade him or release him.
    ……………
    You literally didnt do the comrehending

  20. As a Lions fan, I’d love it if Johnson was released and became a FA. Why? Because he’s an aging, past-his-prime WR with a wrecked body and hasn’t played in over a year. Was he one of the greatest? Yep! Absolutely. He WAS was one of the greatest. WAS. But this isn’t 2012 anymore. The legendary Calvin Johnson is gone, now. His production was dropping when he retired. His YAC went from being in the top 20 in the league to around 60-70th his last season. He can still catch the ball, but he’s not going anywhere afterwards.

    So yeah, by all means, give us some of those sweet, sweet draft picks, get Calvin Johnson, and then watch him completely fail to live up to your expectations as he guzzles down your cap and completely cripples your team’s drafting abilities for the next few season. More than likely he’ll get injured by Week 4 and will just be sitting on the bench doing nothing but being a money pit. Best case scenario, you get one good season out of him.

    CJ is still a good WR, but if he comes back to the league as a FA I guarantee he will be MASSIVELY overvalued and the Lions could only win with that situation. We’ll get key draft picks for him and whoever is saddled with him is going to take a massive cap hit (remember, he was the highest paid WR in the league, so whoever gets him won’t be getting him cheap) and end up worse-off. I mean, remember what happened when Jerry Jones traded Herschel Walker? CJ is the Herschel Walker in this scenario.

  21. How could any trade be viewed as “face saving” for the Lions?
    As I recall, Calvin Johnson quit on the Lions – the Lions didn’t ask him to leave.

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