Chris Mortensen of ESPN mentioned during an appearance on “Mike & Mike” that the Jaguars and Eagles are the two teams that have come up as possibly having interest in trading for retired Lions WR Calvin Johnson.
“The speculation has been the Philadelphia Eagles,” Mortensen said, via Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice. “Once again, they need a tackle. They’re 7-1. They have only a first-round pick next year, and three 4s. 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.”
On Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that two teams have spoken to the Lions over the past week about potentially trading for the rights to Johnson ahead of this year’s deadline.
The Lions figured they had nothing to lose and told these teams to gauge Johnson’s reaction. However, Schefter says that “it has been non-committal at best, diminishing any hopes for a deal.”
Schefter adds that there remains doubt that Johnson would even be willing to come out of retirement, but at least two teams were curious enough to at least inquire within the past week.
A few months ago, Mike Freeman of B/R, citing a number of NFL sources, reports that “at least a half-dozen teams” have reached out to Johnson to gauge whether he would be willing to come out of retirement. However, Johnson has resisted the overtures, which Freeman referred to as being “fairly fierce.”
Johnson made the rounds this offseason and taken in practices for a few teams including the Raiders and Dolphins.
Johnson formally announced his retirement from the NFL back in March of last year and the Lions later placed him on the reserve/retired list.
Johnson, 31, is a former first-round pick of the Lions back in 2007. He was in the fourth year of his eight-year, $150.5 million contract that included $60 million guaranteed and set to make base salaries of $15.95 million (2016), $16.5 million (2017), $17 million (2018), and $18.25 million (2019).
In total, Johnson played nine seasons for the Lions and totaled 731 receptions for 11,619 yards receiving and 83 touchdowns over the course of 135 games. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and selected to three first-team All-Pro units.
We’ll have more regarding a potential trade involving Johnson as the news is available.