Detroit has already begun the process of overhauling their front office, and there will almost certainly be new leadership in place after the season.
Robinson points out that Johnson will be 31 years old next year, and is already showing signs of wear and tear. With this in mind, Robinson believes Johnson may have another three or four quality years left in him.
In 2016, Johnson is scheduled to count a staggering $24 million against the team’s salary cap, which is hard to justify for a receiver, even with the recent cap increases. Robinson points out that Johnson’s agent was smart to structure his contract so that he would be in position to secure another sizable extension if the Lions were to cut him loose, rather than keep him and his $24 million cap charge.
Should the Lions release Johnson, they would pick up $11 million in cap space and another $21 million in 2017. According to Robinson, trading Johnson would save Detroit a total of $32.45 million over the next two years.
Even with the aforementioned concerns, Robinson believes Johnson could walk away with a four-year contract that includes over $32 million guaranteed as a free agent next year.
As for a team to keep an eye on in regards to Johnson, Robinson mentions that no one makes as much sense for Johnson as the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders will have plenty of cap space to work with next year and could replace impending free agent Michael Crabtree with Johnson, who would play across from Amari Cooper. On top of that, Robinson mentions that the Raiders quarterbacks coach Todd Downing spent three years working with Johnson during a stint with the Lions.
Adding Johnson would give Raiders QB Derek Carr a huge target to go along with a dynamic talent in Cooper.
While it’s just a speculative idea, it’s certainly an intriguing suggestion to consider.
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).
This season, Johnson has appeared in eight games and recorded 48 receptions for 659 yards receiving and three touchdowns.