Andre Johnson has been one of the elite receivers in the NFL for the past 11 years, yet the shenanigans going on behind-the-scenes in Houston have him disgruntled. Carolina could use one of the league’s best WRs to help reignite the Panthers’ offense, while at the same time giving Cam Newton a superstar receiver at his disposal.
Mainstream media and the casual fan will freak out when looking at our roster of receivers, running backs and offensive linemen, but the situation here is not as bad as the picture is painted out to be. The sum of our parts is greater than what we put on the field in 2013, and there’s no doubt that our veterans and youngsters will flourish in 2014.
That’s not to say that if a premier receiver with a few years left in the tank comes along, that you don’t at least kick the proverbial tires.
Andre Johnson will turn 33 tomorrow. His best years are no longer in front of him. The injury bug has bit him a few times over the past four seasons. He isn’t finding the endzone as much as he used to.
However, no team in need of production at the WR position will sneeze at a player averaging 1,500 yards, 13.5 yards-per-catch and 5 TDs over the past two seasons. He is a team-first player and has always withstood the character test year after year. He has only played for the Houston Texans and has always kept his disputes under-the-radar, rather than going the diva route publicly.
Anyone that has watched football for the past decade knows what the 6’3″, 230-pound wideout is capable of doing to a defense. Imagine that in Carolina.
Now, just because there are rumors that Johnson wants to be traded, does not mean he is an easy asset to acquire. His salary for 2014 is not cheap, so for a cap-strapped franchise like we are here in Carolina, we aren’t the best dance partner. According to Spotrac.com, Johnson’s cap hit is $11M for 2014, and he is locked up until the 2016 season. Any deal that brings the ex-Miami Hurricane to Charlotte would require renegotiating a new deal.
Carolina only has around $5.3M in salary cap space, so a straight trade as the contracts are currently constructed would not work. This doesn’t tilt the odds in our favor, but that’s not to say that something couldn’t get tweaked. If Johnson views his impact with the franchise as being able to push us into title contention, he could have his deal restructured.
The Panthers’ defense will be as good, if not better than last year. Cam Newton is entering into top-10 status as a signal caller and would have a decent arsenal of complimentary receivers around Johnson. The running game should be on par with 2013, and we upgraded the tight end position this offseason. If Johnson glances down our roster, he should see a team that is a marquee WR away from riding with the Seahawks and 49ers among the NFC elite.
If Johnson wants a shot at getting the ring that he always dreamed of in Houston, Carolina might be one of his best options. The numbers speak for themselves with Johnson as you can see at his numbers over the past eleven seasons.
Albert Breer broke the news over Twitter today that Johnson and the Texans are at an impasse and that four teams are interested in trading for the disgruntled star. Johnson has already been quoted as saying he wants to keep it “in-house” and not make it public what’s going on between he and the Texans’ organization.
Per @RapSheet, Andre Johnson told Texans he wants a trade, four teams have inquired. Next big date is 7/25, when vets report in Houston.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 10, 2014
Johnson has always been an incredible wide receiver that is in this game for the right reasons, and has always kept his nose clean. He has always produced at a high level when on the field and would be a welcomed player to the Panthers. The more important question is if Houston would be willing to let the WR go.
Johnson skipped OTAs and mini-camp in May and June, and has threatened to not suit up as a member of the Texans recently. Johnson has given his all while in Houston and they have taken a very aloof stance on the quarterback position and supporting cast for him. It appears Johnson is fed up with the lack of fielding a competitive team over the past few seasons. Key departures and minimal upgrades to the roster have left the stud WR on an island of hope.
Realistically, Carolina is a perfect fit from a need standpoint, but not from a financial one.
Imagine Cam Newton glancing over to the strong side and seeing a 6’5″, 240-pound Kelvin Benjamin. Newton scans to the weak side and sees Andre Johnson eyeing up his prey. Jerricho Cotchery goes in motion from the slot. Greg Olsen silently waits for the snap.
And then it happens….Hike!
You think the smile on Cam’s face has been magnetic over the past three seasons, wait until you see how big his grin gets staring at his weaponry. Adding a talent like Johnson for the next three seasons would vault us back into the NFC Champion conversation. Four teams have inquired about trading for him… are we one of them?