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.
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.
I would like to summarize Calvin Johnson’s latest behavior in my opinion with one word. Sad. Trust and believe ladies and gentlemen that once you get to the level of fame that Calvin has achieved, very little of what you have to say is “off the cuff”. Rather life itself becomes somewhat of a performance and everything that you say is very calculated, and in the case of Calvin and the Detroit Lions, very cold.
It’s sad that Calvin Johnson put over NFL Quarterbacks Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers and NFL Hall of Fame member and Detroit Lion killer Brett Favre when asked who he would like to play with. Those answers are meant to hurt the Detroit Lions organization and Detroit Lions fans. Why you ask? Simple. Derek Carr has been compared to Matthew Stafford all offseason long due to looming contract extensions and I need not explain why talking highly of Packer quarterbacks would hurt the Detroit Lions and Detroit Lions fans. It’s meant to sting and to further his agenda, the big top circus. More on that later.
Let’s move on to how Calvin also put down the city of Detroit. The theme again? Sad. Sadly the city of Detroit has been a laughingstock for a long long time. Newsflash, we already know the perception of the city Calvin, no one needed your opinion. And it’s sad and unnecessary that you talked badly about the city. Especially because it was only mentioned to sting (once again) and for you to further your agenda, the Calvin Johnson big top circus of “look at me”. People around the world make fun of the city of Detroit without having ever stepped foot in it. And although unfair and misguided at least they believe it. You did it solely to try and hurt the Detroit Lions organization and to try and hurt the Detroit Lions fans. Detroit vs Everybody? Never thought Calvin Johnson would join the everybody team. But let’s keep going.
How about my favorite?
At the very important Italian Bowl XXXVII, Calvin Johnson had the following to say.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them, I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere.”
Yikes. Lie much? I thought you left football due to your health? Actually I never believed that but I digress. Mostly because I have no respect for a liar. But now I truly digress. Let’s hit another subject within this quote. The work you were putting in. Okay, fair enough. Except for the fact that Calvin Johnson barely practiced in what? The last two or three seasons that he participated in? But hold off on the “work” he put in for a few more moments.
Let’s hit the whole no hope to win a Superbowl thing. How about two years ago when the Detroit Lions were 11-5? Maybe make a few more plays in the playoff game Calvin. If you do that maybe you are a few more minutes, and when it comes to the NFL Playoffs, precious minutes closer to the Superbowl. How are you not “close” when you’re in the playoffs? Go ahead and trash that train of thought while I go back and hit Calvin and his “work” to close us out.
Your body of work is easy to summarize Calvin Johnson. Zero playoff wins while being paid an INCREDIBLE amount of money to do just that. But more than that, let’s look at one big statistic. 0-16. You’re buddies Carr, Rodgers and Favre, they were never a part of 0-16. The quarterback you ignored, Matthew Stafford never took part in 0-16. You Calvin Johnson, you took part in 0-16. So how great was your work? Maybe you should’ve bashed your head harder into the wall because it seems to me that you may need to have some sense knocked into you. If you truly left The Lions because you didn’t think they were good enough, you should be smart enough to blame yourself largely for that and to realize that the reason they weren’t good enough was because you weren’t a good enough player to help the team win games.
Those are my thoughts. Detroit vs Calvin Johnson and Everybody.
Not too long ago I wrote an article about Calvin Johnson and our instincts, as fans, to let our emotional attachment to a team to cloud our views ofspecific players. With the recent drama between Calvin Johnson and the Lions, the topic has become relevant again. Fans are once again hurt and outraged at the fact that Calvin Johnson didn’t want to play for the Detroit Lions anymore. His most recent comments shed light on the fact that he didn’t think that the team was in a position to win a Super Bowl. No real fan wants to hear that about their team. No fan wants to hear that one of their favorite players and one of the all-time-greats felt that way about the team we love.
It isn’t an easy situation for the fans, because we are torn between the player that we watched dominate the game, and the team that we have rooted for all our life. There is no reason that we can’t just look at the situation and decide to not take a side. We don’t have to decide that the Lions are a terrible organization that treats their players poorly. We also don’t have to decide that Calvin Johnson’s career as a Lion is somehow less because of his feelings that we are hearing about now.
Football is a business. Teams want to win, and they want to make money. Players want to win, and they want to make money. Sometimes those motivations don’t line up in a way that makes a deal workable. Calvin didn’t think he could win a Super Bowl with the Lions, and his body was taking a significant beating every single season. He decided that, if he was going to put up with the physical toll that his body was taking, he wanted to play for a team that could win the Super Bowl. The Lions were obviously not going to give up a generational talent for no compensation. This left Calvin with two options. He could retire or he could continue to take a beating for a team that he didn’t think would bring him a ring. He chose to retire. That is his decision and I don’t think that we have any grounds to criticize it.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as loyalty in this business. For some reason, we demand it anyway. If a player gets traded from one team to another, we expect that player’s loyalty to shift completely. When a player moves in free agency, we expect the same thing. Fans all expect TJ Lang to suddenly love Detroit and love the Lions with an unwavering vigor. Meanwhile, Packer fans feel betrayed by a player leaving their team to go to a division rival. Everyone wants every player to love their team, and that simply isn’t the case.
On the flip side, teams trade players and cut players all the time. No one seems to feel that these teams are betraying their players. The players have faces and personalities, and it is easy to put the blame on a specific person. Teams are ideas with many people working behind the scenes to make these decisions. It is simply easier to hate the player than the team.
Calvin gave us some great memories. That is more than we could ask for. He wasn’t happy with the Lions. That’s OK. He retired. That’s OK too. If he wants to talk about how he felt in his time with the Lions, he should be able to do that. The team doesn’t owe Calvin Johnson, and Calvin Johnson doesn’t owe the team. We may not like what he has to say, because he is attacking our idealistic view of an organization that we love, but he is allowed to feel that way. At the end of the day, this dispute has nothing to do with us. I loved watching Calvin Johnson play football and wish him the best in retirement. I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch him play. I will continue to love the Detroit Lions, and their feelings about each other is not going to change either of those things.