Rapoport suggests that Detroit could offer Johnson a Larry Fitzgerald-like extension in an attempt to get him to reconsider retirement.
Last year, Fitzgerald agreed to renegotiated his seven-year $113 million contract and signed a two-year, $22 million deal with Arizona that was fully guaranteed included a no-trade clause.
On Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Johnson told his family and a close circle of friends that 2015 would be his final year in the NFL. Johnson reportedly delivered the same message to Lions HC Jim Caldwell the day after the regular season ended as well.
Schefter reports that Caldwell told Johnson not to rush his decision and to take his time thinking things through. Schefter mentions that out of respect to Caldwell, Johnson agreed to do just that.
However, Schefter adds that the Lions haven’t given up hope that Johnson will change his mind. Although, a person close to Johnson says: “He’s pretty content with his decision.”
Johnson surprisingly released a statement close to a month ago saying that he is considering retirement.
“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” Johnson said, per Tim Twentyman. “I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.”
Bus Cook, the agent for Johnson, told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that there’s still no timetable for his client to decide on either retiring or returning for the 2016 season.
The problem for Johnson is that after nine seasons in the NFL, his body is reportedly beaten down to the point where it difficult for him to return for another season.
There had been a lot of talk that the Lions could potentially move on from Johnson, given that he’s scheduled to earn close to $16 million next season and carry a cap number of $24.008 million.
Johnson, 30, is in the fourth year of his eight-year, $150.5 million contract that included $60 million guaranteed. He stands to make base salaries of $12.5 million (2015), $15.95 million (2016), $16.5 million (2017), $17 million (2018), and $18.25 million (2019).
In 2015, Johnson appeared in all 16 games and recorded 88 receptions for 1,214 yards receiving and nine touchdowns for the Lions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 5 receiver out of 119 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Johnson’s future in the NFL as the news is available.