According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Detriot Lions have been open to shopping retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson before the trade deadline on Tuesday afternoon.
Lions approached about trading Calvin Johnson's rights, sources tell ESPN. More on Sunday NFL Countdown…. https://t.co/xw6QICRw5v
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2017
Schefter also mentioned that two teams have reached out to the Lions about Johnson and gaining the rights to his contract. If a team were to trade for Johnson, they would be picking up what would have been his base salary in 2016 ($15.95 million) along with the $6.77 million in base salary on his contract.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said on Monday morning that the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars were the teams that showed interest based on his sources from around the league.
“The speculation has been the Philadelphia Eagles,” Mortensen said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. “Once again, they need a tackle. They’re 7-1. They have only a first round pick next year, and three 4’s. They don’t have a second- or third-round pick. That’s not good.
“What’s it going to take to get Calvin Johnson, who by the way has a base salary still on the books for $16 million? Calvin has been working out, I guess, but does he really want to play? Jacksonville’s ears are perked up. Chances are, I don’t think it happens.”
Johnson left the Lions after the 2015 season because he knew the team was not a Super Bowl contender, but the team wouldn’t grant his wishes to be released or traded. So he chose door No. 3…retirement.
“Of course, I thought about it,” Johnson told ESPN in July. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere. It’s the definition of insanity.”
In his nine-year career, Johnson racked up 11,619 receiving yards, 83 touchdowns, and had a career average of 15.9 yards per reception. He was elected to six Pro Bowls and holds the record for the most receiving yards (1,964) in a single season in NFL history.
▶ Eagles, Jaguars interested in Calvin Johnson, but "long shot" he makes comeback – Chris Mortensen (ESPN) https://t.co/PXLQfP6lHG
— ESPN 580 (@ESPNOrlando) October 30, 2017
To set the record straight, it appears that Johnson will likely not be coming back to play in the NFL this season. There would have easily been a bit more commotion if Johnson were serious about making a comeback to professional football. It would have been similar to the buzz that surrounded Marshawn Lynch this past offseason after came back from retirement to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders.
Johnson would need an adjustment period to not only learn the playbook but also develop some chemistry with his new quarterback. In a world that is so dependent on ‘the stats’, there is no measurement for the chemistry between quarterback and wide receiver. Either they have it, or they don’t.
It’s fun to day-dream about Johnson returning as a contender and being the difference-maker. But the odds are unlikely at this point in time. We will ultimately find out if this is a bluff or not by Tuesday afternoon.