The future of Calvin Johnson with the Detroit Lions isn't as clear as it once was. Johnson has a massive contract (which we'll get to in a bit) and the Lions might not want to spend so much on him. There is no doubting Johnson's ability, even though he has battled injuries in recent seasons. Those issues, plus the Lions' lack of success has led to speculation that Johnson could be headed elsewhere in 2016.
Before we get into the potential landing spots for Johnson, there's the matter of his hefty contract. He's in the midst of massive, 7-year, $113,450,000 contract that won't expire until 2020, when Johnson is 35. Megatron's deal will count $24 million against the cap next season. Only half the teams in the NFL can afford that, and that's before they account for their own free agents and draft picks. That means a trade of Johnson is unlikely and wouldn't fetch the Lions much. If the team chooses to cut him, it would save roughly $12 million against the cap.
If the Lions decide to part from Johnson by trading him or releasing him, there will be a market for his talents. But remember, this isn't Madden. As awesome as it would be for the Dallas Cowboys to sign Johnson, that's not going to happen because of the money. All cap space figures assume the cap will be $150 million next season, but there is a good chance it will rise. Excluding the Lions, here are 5 Teams Calvin Johnson Could Play For Next Season.
The 49ers have $40 million in cap space and possibly more if the team cuts Colin Kaepernick. Anquan Boldin will be a free agent after this season and the team needs a WR. Johnson fits financially, but he might not want to play for 49ers team that likely won't make the playoffs this season. Johnson and the 49ers are a possibility, but a long-shot.
Imagine Keenan Allen and Johnson on the same team. Defenses are already freaking out. The Chargers have $33 million in cap space and WR Malcom Floyd will retire after this season, so there is a need. Adding Johnson is likely only a possibility if the team lets Eric Weddle and Antonio Gates walk, although Gates might be an option to bring back cheap. Trading for Johnson is likely not an option, but signing him could work.
Johnson would be a great fit for the Vikings, although there's little chance the Lions would trade him to the Vikings. The Vikings only have $24 million in cap space and the Lions wouldn't want to send Johnson to a division rival. However, if the Lions were to cut Megatron, Minnesota could make a move for him. He'd be the big weapon to pair with burner Mike Wallace and Stefon Diggs.
The Rams have $38 million in cap space for next season and could clear more by releasing some older players. Johnson would bring a completely new dimension to the Rams' offense. They have Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, but neither is like Johnson. He'd give the Rams their best red zone threat in years and would be a huge boost to the offense.
This is the best spot for Johnson and the most feasible. The Raiders have a whopping $72 million in cap space for next season. They have plenty of free agents they'd like to bring back, but they'd still easily be able to add Johnson. He'd be a perfect mentor to Amari Cooper and the Raiders' receiving corps would immediately be one of the better units in the league. With so much cap space, the Raiders could afford to trade for Johnson, although they might prefer to just sign him if the Lions cut him.Back to the NFL Newsfeed