Colts Reportedly Willing to Pay Andre Johnson $10M Per Year


According to Bleacher Report NFL Reporter Jason Cole, the Indianapolis Colts are one of three teams that are willing to pay Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson the roughly $10 million dollars in base salary that he is set to be paid in 2015 on his current contract (via CBS Sportsline):

"“What Johnson is hoping for, according to a source I’ve talked to, is that he gets cut in this process,” Cole said on Tuesday. “He doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to be out there on the market and negotiate the best deal that he can possibly get. He’s due to make $10 million in base salary this year, and there are about three teams out there, according to that source, that are willing to (pay him) that $10 million number — and possibly even better up-front money overall. …“One of the teams that you can look for, that would be interested in Johnson — and that Johnson would be interested in playing for — is the Indianapolis Colts. No. 1, it’s Andrew Luck. … No. 2, it would be within the same division, and allow him to get a little bit of revenge over the Houston Texans.”"

Of course, with Johnson recently requesting to be either released or traded from the Houston Texans this offseason and the Colts in real need of a proven wide receiver, it could become a distinct possibility.

Earlier, we “Analyzed Andre Johnson” for the Colts and while we agreed he’s still a nice player, our hope was that the Colts could do even better at acquiring a #2 wideout, specifically by mentioning the Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall. At 34 years old, Johnson is clearly on the decline of his career, and he’s not quite the same player that he once was:

The fact that the Colts would be willing to pay him $10 million in base salary is a somewhat scary thought and may not be the most prudent allocation of resources if true. On name recognition alone Johnson is worth such a high number, but his recent production has indicated otherwise. According to Spotrac, one of the premier salary cap valuation web sites available, a fair valuation of Johnson actually places him more in the $6.4 million annual range on his next contract:

"Andre Johnson (WR, HOU)3 years, $19,191,228 ($6.5M guaranteed)Average Salary: $6,397,076It’s somewhat hard to believe Johnson made it through the 2014 season in Houston. In any event the time appears right to part ways after 12 seasons. Now 33 years old, Johnson has dipped in production (especially finding the endzone) but can still be a major contributor to plenty of NFL offenses. Statistically over the past two seasons he’s valuing out at over $6M per year, though it’s perfectly possible he can push $10M should the market be there."

Nov 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson may be a nice piece for the Colts as a complimentary #2 wide receiver to deep threat T.Y. Hilton; however, he’s not worth the $10 million in base salary given his recent production. That’s an awful lot of money for a wideout who is set to turn 34 years old and whose best days are clearly behind him.

For comparison’s purposes, at age 30, Brandon Marshall is due a $9.575 cap hit in 2015, which is less than the amount the Colts are reportedly willing to pay Johnson. On T.Y. Hilton‘s next projected contract, who’s a better player than Johnson at this point in their respective careers, he’s only expected to command around $9 million annually.

Still, if push comes to shove, Johnson would be a welcome addition to the Colts receiving corps if there are no other proven options available. Even given his diminished skill-set, he still figures to be an upgrade over both Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks at this stage of their respective careers. It’s just our sincere hope that it’s not at his current exorbitant $10 million dollar price tag. 

In Johnson’s defense too, there are some highly valued NFL experts, who still think he can play wideout at a high level:

While the Colts should initially try to do better, he still does ultimately make some sense for the team’s wide receiving corps. Let’s just hope it’s not at the $10 million dollar price tag the Colts are reportedly willing to pay him however.

Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson (80) get knocked out of bounds prior to the end zone by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports