The Lions want receiver Calvin Johnson to take his time regarding his decision to retire. But even though they have yet to say it, their patience can’t be open-ended.
“Right now I want him to come to his own conclusion and decide what he wants to do,” team president Rod Wood told reporters on Friday in San Francisco, via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “I wouldn’t want to try to convince him to play, if that’s not what he wants to do. But obviously if he wants to play, we want him back. . . . We’re going to give him time to kind of go through all the decision processes, and hopefully come to the conclusion that’s right for him. Whatever that is, we’ll support it.”
They likely won’t support it if the decision is, “I’ll play in 2016 but I want my full $16 million salary and full $24 million cap number.” Which means that they’d surely like to know what he’d like to do before March 9, when his cap number for 2016 must be wedged along with all other player salaries under the reconfigured spending limit.
Maybe, in a weird sort of way, Johnson has threatened pre-emptively to retire in order to make his otherwise prohibitive compensation package a non-issue. Last year, when Vikings running back Adrian Peterson started making noise through his agent about wanting out of Minnesota, it became a given that the team wouldn’t try to chop down his salary. If he hadn’t been so coy about staying, maybe the Vikings would have made a run at getting him to take less money.