Lions GM: I talked to Calvin Johnson, he didn’t tell me if he’s retiring

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New Lions General Manager Bob Quinn still doesn’t know if wide receiver Calvin Johnson will retire, and Quinn says he’s fine with Johnson taking his time.

“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.

39 responses to “Lions GM: I talked to Calvin Johnson, he didn’t tell me if he’s retiring

  1. typicalnipple says:
    Feb 24, 2016 2:02 PM

    He just wants to play somewhere else. Just like Big John Football will be doing, maybe.


    LOL, Good comparison. Calvin and Johnny Boyziel

  2. I’m sure they have a contingency contract plan if he plays. They’ll figure something out. If he retires, there isn’t much to talk about.

    Basically, Quinn would be an idiot to say they are planning on restructuring a deal for a guy that might not even want to play. Let him make the business decision that would prompt that discussion first, not impact his decision by prompting the discussion.

    First step – Get him to play
    Second step – restructure or plan to replace him
    Third step – plan to actually have a good roster by 2017

    All of these roster moves, to this point, have made perfect sense. Calculated maneuvers to clear cap and get players that fit. I’m not going to assume there’s any naivety on his part. He seams to be finding ways to mold this team into something… hopefully that something is a winner.

  3. The Lions have $30 mil in cap space even if they do nothing to Megatron’s contract. If he plays, fine. If retires the Lions free up another chunk of money. In this instance the leverage appears to belong to the Lions.

  4. There are planning meetings and decision meetings; they are different.

    I am sure a salary cap planning meeting discussed the impact of alternatives such as the retirement or cutting many players including Calvin.

    There is no reason to not believe the Lions have not held a Calvin Johnson decision meeting yet. It makes sense to wait for a deadline that Spurs action.

  5. Quinn’s obviously hiding his cards. There is zero reason to talk to Calvin except to find out if he’s returning and at what price. We’re led to believe they just talked about the weather or something.

  6. Question: Is it possible that Johnson is waiting for a cash pay out to retire in order to save the cap room. Also, if they did pay him to retire, would that amount count against the cap?

  7. Two of the greatest players in NFL history were/are willing to leave insane amounts of money and prime years of their careers on the table, just so they won’t have to play for the Lions.

    Detroit should thank their stars that Cleveland exists.

  8. CJ is a heck of a player, but I’ll have to say, even for a world beater like him, that contract was ridiculous. No WR is worth that kind of money.
    I am sure I will get at thumbs down, but hey.

  9. The next 5 generations of Johnsons will be named after Calvin. He’s done enough.

    I don’t blame the Lions for trying to keep him, but they are not a team worth sacrificing your body over.

  10. Looks like he still has a lot of gas left in his tank.
    I don’t think he should retire yet no matter who he plays for.
    He is exciting to watch.

  11. Calvin seems like he wants to play but for the first time is questioning whether it’s worth it. As a fan, I just want this guy to be happy. He game the organization everything, never complained and they haven’t reciprocated.

  12. I think you don’t quite understand how the cap works. It’s going up. They will only save 11 million if Calvin retires. He gets 16 million this year. If they want they can restructure and move 15 million to next years cap. There really is no big deal here.

    There is no rule that you can’t pay this or that. Suh played in 2014 with a cap hit of 22 million when the cap was 20-25 million less than it will be this year.

    We also are not cap strapped. We have the 11th most cap space in the league.

  13. I really dont understand why teams keep getting in this pickle. If I spent money in such a way that today I save $1 but tomorrow I spend $3 to save that $1 – id be broke. Come to think about it, so many teams treat their salary cap like a payday loan company. Use money today but pay 2x tomorrow.

  14. The Lions aren’t going to show their hand. The organization internalizes everything so we may not know if he’s suiting up next year until the rosters are released.

  15. Sure they never talked about retirement or restructuring options. And Nate Burleson has promised to undertake a year long vow of silence. . . . .

  16. The important thing is that it seems as if the new GM has firm control of whats going on. (yeah ok)

    Seriously Quinn, set a date in the immediate future….like March 1st lets say…and tell CJ that you need his decision. If not you cut him because free agency starts a week later. This isnt that complicated.

  17. Calvin Johnson is not in his prime, so people need to stop saying he is retiring in his prime. IF Calvin stays healthy, he has at most one or two more good years left, but the Megatron days are over and he knows it. See e.g. Andre Johnson.

  18. Did no one ask Quinn if he had talked to Bus Cook, Calvin’s agent?!?! Seems like the obvious follow-up question to smell-test his answer….

  19. sosuhme says:
    Feb 24, 2016 3:24 PM
    Calvin Johnson is not in his prime, so people need to stop saying he is retiring in his prime. IF Calvin stays healthy, he has at most one or two more good years left, but the Megatron days are over and he knows it. See e.g. Andre Johnson.

    People said that about Randy Moss too….. Then he had his best season ever with Brady and the Patriots….

  20. Go get him Raiders. You have money to spend. He may not be what he once was but can you imagine defenses having to worry about covering Cooper, Crabtree and Calvin? Yikes!

  21. I can’t remember a time when the Lions had a GM that everyone didn’t know by name.. Maybe that’s a good sign for them..

  22. Actually … the Lions have $34M in cap space. Megatron’s contract isn’t as big of an issue as its being made out to be.

    CJ is waiting on two things:

    1. Will the Lions have a team that is a legit contender (what free agents will they sign)?

    2. How does his body feel?

    If it means adding cap space to help bring in the right player, I think CJ will take a pay cut.

  23. Andre Johnson receptions each year after age 30: 112, 109; 85, 41.

    Calvin Johnson receptions after age 30: ???

    The point corporatemediaprostitute is that Calvin is 30 and we can look to Andre Johnson as an example for how Calvin’s skills will deteriorate over the next couple of years if he does not retire.

    See e.g. A Clue.

  24. Notice how the highly paid video game number WRs miss the playoffs yearly. They cut bait with Suh, time to do so with Johnson. They need more pieces, not one and he’s not getting them over the hump for that amount of cash.

  25. Why is it no one can come to terms with the fact the man is just done with Football!!! He just doesn’t want to play. I can imagine from my couch, just like all of you, how thrilling and irreplaceable NFL Football is to play, but what about the reality. The non-stop pain and pressure you live with must start to become unbearable around year 10. Never heard of a player bring his friends and family to Vegas to celebrate his career and retirement while holding out for a trade or release. He may not be a first ballot HOF but he’ll get in eventually and that may just be enough for him to call it a career.. You remember the team that wins a championship forever, but a player is only immortalized with a brass bust in Canton, and he’ll have it. He’s done enough, nothing left to prove, time to move on

  26. The Lions have 33 million dollars in cap space including his 24 million dollar cap hit. That’s more than two thirds of the league. I think the books will be OK with whatever Calvin chooses to do.

  27. The Lions made moves to get them to $34M in cap space if Calvin comes back. If he retires, it’ll add $11M. But it’s not the end if he comes back and doesn’t restructure. Sure $24M is a massive hit for a WR that is on the downside. But if he racks up, say, 100 receptions for about 1500 yards, what then?

    This past year was down, but the first half of the season was a waste. A year of Jim Bob and Quinn pickups, might be a good year for Calvin. And, he can always restructure if he sees the need to if some big FA is targeted.

    The point is that Quinn’s moves to date have set it up so whatever Calvin does, it’s not going to kill the cap situation for the Lions. I think the team wants him back, but not by forcing a restructuring.

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