Wide receiver Calvin Johnson has been one of the best players to wear the Detroit Lions jersey since the days of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, but like him, he may also be leaving the NFC North franchise earlier than expected.
We're not saying he is going to retire, it's highly unlikely but you can't rule that out just yet, but the chances of Megatron playing his football at the Lions next season are decreasing.
Johnson may have played his last game for the Lions because whoever the new Lions general manager is may decide his salary is too much to be kept on.
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ESPN's Michael Rothstein recently asked the 30-year-old wide receiver if he thinks he will be playing his football with the NFC North franchise next season.
“I don’t know,” Johnson said. “I don’t know.”
Despite having his sixth straight 1,000-yard season, Megatron's performances have dropped when compared to previous years. He has a cap hit of $24.088 million in 2016, including a base salary of $15.95 million, and will save the Lions $11.1 million in cap space if he was traded away.
With four more years left on his contract and no more guaranteed money, when Johnson was asked if he would take a pay cut that would likely keep him at the Lions, he said: “We’ll consider those things when or if they happen.”
Megatron has been part of the Lions organization since they drafted him in 2007, but during that time, he has only been to the playoffs twice, in 2011 and 2014. Johnson usually keeps himself to himself, so we don't know if he wants to end his career on the hunt for a Super Bowl ring with a continuous playoff contender to achieve that goal.
Several teams that could help him achieve that, and also be able to accommodate his cap space as well by adjusting contracts. These teams include the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers. Rebuilding teams such as the St Louis Rams and the New York Giants could help him as well, but they're more long shots for that illustrious Super Bowl title.
Johnson will definitely have a team to play football for next season, whether or not that will be with the Lions is all down to their future general manager.