Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson hasn’t officially retired yet. But in the latest developments involving Johnson, he had reportedly called owner Martha Ford and her daughters to thank them for everything, according to NFL Network‘s NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
The Lions are holding out hope that they can convince him to change his mind. If they lose him, they’re losing one of the best wide receivers of all-time.
If he does come back, he’ll have a $24 million salary. They would hope to give him a deal like the Arizona Cardinals gave to Larry Fitzgerald this off-season when everyone thought he would be done in the desert.
When Fitzgerald signed his new deal, he immediately gave the team $13 million in salary cap space that would help the team re-sign and sign additional players.
Of the $24 million, only $23 million is expected to count against the salary cap. Also, if he does retire, he’ll owe the Lions $3.2 million from his signing bonus money.
If Johnson decides to make it official and step away from the game, he’ll reportedly save the Lions $11 million in its 2016 salary cap. But the money that they’ll be saving won’t be the same to what they’ll have to deal without one of their franchise’s best.
His production has declined since he was the NFL’s leader with 122 receptions and 1,964 yards. That year, he broke Jerry Rice’s all-time record, which was set in 1995 when he had 1,848 yards.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones broke Rice’s record this season when he had 1,871 yards. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown fell just 14 yards shy when he had 1,834 yards on the year.
This season, he had 88 receptions for 1,214 yards with nine touchdowns. In 135 career games, he had 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.
The 731 receptions, 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns are the Lions all-time leaders. Herman Moore was the previous all-time receiving leader with 9,174 yards before Johnson beat him.
The Lions also lost in the NFC Wild Card Round in 2011 when they lost 45-28 to the New Orleans Saints.
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