The Houston Texans may look at the trade or release of Andre Johnson this offseason and if that happens, teams like the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings could be potential landing spots, as the veteran feels he still can be a major contributor at this stage of his career.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Johnson will be traded or released by the Texans this offseason and it comes as the wide receiver is due a $10.5 million salary next year. Johnson had some issues with the team last summer and stayed away from offseason workouts before appearing at camp, but now it looks like the harmony is over. John McClain reported that the Texans gave Johnson's agent permission to seek a trade and that Johnson likely would be released if they can't find a deal.
Johnson is 34-years-old and has large contract numbers attached to him over the next two years and that is likely the nexus of the move for Houston. The Chronicle later reported that Johnson said head coach Bill O'Brien informed him that the team wanted to give him a lesser role in the offense in 2015. Johnson has been one of the top receivers in the history of the NFL and he said he "laughed at" O'Brien when he was told he would only catch "40 passes" if he stayed.
Pro Football Talk reports that Johnson has asked for his release, as the team has not been able to find a trade yet, but so far no deal has been finalized either way. While Johnson is 34 years old, he still has been very productive in the late stages of his career and for the most part he has been healthy throughout. Johnson missed time in 2011 with injuries and three games in 2010, but he did not miss any games from 2012-13 and missed one last season. Johnson had 85 catches for 936 yards and while those were his lowest totals since that injury season, they still are strong numbers considering his age and the quarterbacks the Texans used last season.
Johnson's status with the Texans likely came down to money and he still has over $20 million left on his deal in the final two years of the contract. Next year Johnson will make $10.5 million and in 2016 he is set for an $11 million salary and if the Texans let him go, it will clear over $8 million on the salary cap. A trade is not totally off the table, as Brandon Marshall was just moved for a fifth round pick and there could be teams with cap space that would be willing to take on Johnson's money.
According to ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley, the Baltimore Ravens could be a potential landing spot for Johnson if he is traded, as the team has been willing to make moves for veterans in the past. The team signed Steve Smith last year and they have previously acquired Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason in previous seasons. Ozzie Newsome could be willing to make a move if the team doesn't sign back Torrey Smith, who is hitting the market as a free agent.