Pro Bowl WR Calvin Johnson is coming off an incredible season where he was largely unstoppable for a good majority of the year. Johnson will be entering the final year of his rookie contract so the Lions would be wise to act sooner rather than later.
“I think we have an opportunity to work on that this offseason,” Mayhew said of his plans to address Johnson’s contract. “I don’t think it’s something that absolutely has to be done, but we have an opportunity to work on it.
Johnson’s 2011 salary comes in at $14 million so I would beg to differ with Mayhew that it’s something that really should be addressed soon. Re-signing Johnson not only would keep arguably the leagues best wide receiver with the team for years to come but it would also free up some money that they could use to sign free agent-to-be Cliff Avril.
By not addressing Johnson’s contract they would run the risk of an extension not getting done which would force them to use their franchise tag on him. That would almost certainly be more than the $14 million they’re paying him this season.
As for Avril, Mayhew said that the franchise tag is not part of the plan.
“I don’t have any plans to (franchise Avril), but you you never know what might happen.,” Mayhew said.. “We’re going to approach Cliff about a long term deal and try to get something done and see what happens.”
Detroit already has a lot money invested in their defensive line but Avril is force on the edge that they would certainly miss as Kyle Vanden Bosch isn’t getting any younger. There’s going to be a strong market for Avril so the Lions had better be prepared to pay him well if they intend to keep him.