The Detroit Lions are remaining patient. The team is getting a new front office in place along with new coaches while roster evaluation takes place. The team continues to wait on one decision that could greatly impact what moves the Lions make in the offseason as they do not know what is happening with Calvin Johnson. After releasing a statement hinting at retirement, Johnson has yet to make a move and might not for awhile.
New general manager Bob Quinn told the media that he will be patient after Johnson said he was "currently evaluating options for my future." Johnson is set to be a $24 million salary cap hit next year and after rumors of his release began to surface, the wide receiver took a step back to look at where he stands in his career. His agent Bus Cook is reporting that nothing has been decided yet in regards to Johnson's future as the Lions continue to wait.
"Nothing to report," Cook said, via the Detroit Free Press. "Have to wait and see. He has to think about what he's going to do and then go from there. I imagine most guys at the end of the season (have similar feelings). I've been through that once, or twice, or three times. He's tired."
Johnson once again had over 1,000 yards on the season, but he was slowed down with ankle and knee issues that have been reoccurring over the past few years. That could be playing a part in his decision process. Even if Johnson opts to return, there is a chance the Lions are forced to release him. His cap charge is simply too high and unless Johnson agrees to a pay cut, the team cannot afford to keep him on the pay roll. That would leave them with Golden Tate and TJ Jones as their leading receivers which means the NFL Draft and free agency is where they could find their next star.
Laquon Treadwell is the best receiver entering the 2016 NFL Draft and could easily replace Johnson on the field. However, he would require the Lions to trade up in order to get him. Josh Doctson would be the next-best move to make when the Lions draft in the first round. With Tate already on the roster, the Lions could decide to sign someone in free agency instead. Jermaine Kearse, Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin and Rishard Matthews are all top options available and would pair well with Tate on the sidelines. They are not true No.1 receivers, but they have the talent to make a balanced rotation. The Lions need to add a receiver regardless of Johnson's decision on his future, but it remains to be seen how big they will go to fill the need.