The latest NFL rumors have the Detroit Lions prepared to ask star wide receiver Calvin Johnson to take a pay cut after the season, according to NFL.com.
Calvin Johnson Pay Cut
The NFL salary cap can force teams into making tough decisions sometimes. Since 2000, the Detroit Lions have been bad enough that they were able to select ten players that were in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Along with those picks came high salaries because the league had a rookie pay scale back then. Guys like Roy Williams, Ernie Sims, Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson were given huge contracts before they even stepped on the field for the Lions.
Well, the high spending has caught up with Detroit. Johnson, widely regarded as one of the most dominant wide receivers in the history of the NFL, is set to count $26 million against the salary cap next season. While the Lions would love to keep him around, it is a price that they might not be able to afford if they want to field a competitive team in 2016. Stafford has an average salary of $17.6 million on his contract. His improved play over the past couple of weeks has caused management to change their minds about getting rid of their starting quarterback.
Sources are saying that Calvin Johnson is not interested in the idea of taking a pay cut for the Detroit Lions. If the 30-year-old declines the pay cut, then management will have no choice but to start making phone calls around the league to see if they can find a new home in the NFL for Calvin. While not impossible, a trade is going to be very difficult to find due to the high salary cap cost that Johnson has. Teams wanting the former Georgia Tech star are better off waiting for a release as opposed to taking on the big salary and giving up valuable draft picks.
The possibility of releasing Johnson is something that the next team president and general manager will have to figure out. Team owner Martha Ford has already cleared out much of her staff. A decision on head coach Jim Caldwell is coming up, as well. It will be a very tough choice for the new management team to make because Calvin is such a beloved player in Detroit. The Lions public relations and sales department will be tasked with convincing the fan base to stay loyal after the loss of such a big star.
If the Detroit Lions are a bit gun shy about their decision on Calvin Johnson, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh can be thanked for that. The former Nebraska star left in free agency because he could not resist the gigantic contract that the Miami Dolphins had on the table for him. During Suh’s final season with Detroit, the Lions were ranked second in the NFL on defense, trailing only the dominant Seattle Seahawks defense led by Richard Sherman. This season, they are ranked at number 17, and much of that can be attributed to Suh no longer being the anchor on the defensive line.
Losing Johnson might have the same effect. The 6’5″, 240 pound wide receiver is considered the top player on the offensive side of the ball. Without him on the field, Matt Stafford might not be able to put up the numbers that he has been doing. Without Johnson, the receiving trio of Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew will find it harder to make plays because the defense will focus on them more. Detroit definitely does not want to lose Johnson but it might be something that they’re forced to do.
Will the Detroit Lions be forced to give up Calvin Johnson?
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