Writer’s Round Table: Calvin Johnson And The Lions At Odds

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Calvin Johnson Comments About His Turmoil With The Detroit Lions, The DLP Writing Staff Responds.

Calvin Johnson was one of the greatest to ever play the wide receiver position. There is simply no way around that. That said, it hasn’t necessarily been a fairytale story for Calvin and his former team. Since his retirement, Calvin Johnson has expressed distaste with the Detroit Lions and the way they handled both his contract and his retirement. There are fans that are upset with the team. There are fans that are upset with Calvin Johnson. The DLP writing staff decided to give their opinions on the matter and sort through the delicate situation of one of our team’s all-time greats being at odds with the team itself.

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Ash Thompson@a5hcrack

Calvin Johnson is not wrong when he says that as he was mulling over retirement the Lions were in no position to be a Super Bowl contender any time soon. What he fails to mention, or possibly realize, is that it was his ludicrous rate of pay that was responsible for the state of affairs. Johnson’s massive contract was going to carry a salary cap hit of $24 million. To put that in context, the highest salary cap hit for a wide receiver in 2016 was just under $16 million. Even in retirement Johnson carried a top ten salary cap hit among wide receivers because of how early into his contract he bailed on his teammates.

The team’s replacements for Johnson were Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin. They combined for 122 catches, 1474 yards, and 12 touchdowns. They provided all that at a total salary cap hit of about $9.5 million. An average “Megatron” season since signing that extension? 91 catches, 1436 yards, 8.5 touchdowns. Those numbers are drastically inflated by Johnson’s record breaking 2012 season. He had not come close to that average since. 2013.

So what did the Lions get for their extra $10 million per season? Certainly not their money’s worth. They got a player who has since ripped the team at virtually every opportunity for making him unbelievably wealthy and the resulting drain on the talent they could surround him with.

All he had to do if he wanted to play elsewhere was come out of retirement after the team had moved on. Much like Brett Favre with the Packers, such a move would have forced the team’s hand. They could have kept him for the season, but why? Once Anquan Boldin had been brought in the team was fully prepared for life after Megatron.

I can’t help but notice that none of these complaints existed until the team went after his unearned bonus money. Then suddenly the team wasn’t good enough for him to put forth the effort. Well Calvin, they went 9-7 without you. You left a playoff team. Considering his salary cap hit and diminishing returns, I think they were better off without him. Even Matthew Stafford said last year that his job was going to be easier without Megatron on the team.

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Daniel Lewis

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About the Author

Sean Lanigan
I love fantasy football, fantasy baseball, music, books, video games, and all things nerd. I'm a big football fan and a bigger Detroit Lions fan. I was born in Michigan but have spent the vast majority of my life living in Viking and Packer country. If you are a Lions fan in Minnesota, hit me up, and let's watch some football.