“Right now, that’s all that he can do. We’ve done what we can do, so we’re just sitting there waiting. Andre and Bill have a great relationship. That’s just what it is. After that, it’s just a wait-and-see deal. We’ll evaluate it in a month or so and see what’s going on.”
Basically, nothing has changed since the Texans didn’t address the quarterback position, and Andre won’t come into camp anytime soon until it is fixed. That’s what I’m thinking.
It’s not about the money in Johnson’s case. He’s making $10 million in base salary this season, and is under contract through 2016 at $10.5 million and $11 million in 2015 and 2016. The only money-based argument you can make, is actually the other way. Since he’s owed so much money and has huge cap hits the next three seasons – he’s a $15.6 million cap hit for the Texans this season, $16.1 million in 2015, and $14.6 million in 2016 – Johnson can actually become a cap casualty as early as the 2015 offseason.
But I don’t think it’s a money issue. Johnson reportedly isn’t happy about rebuilding, though the Texans don’t seem to be into full rebuild mode. They look like a quarterback away from competing, which seems to be the issue for the 32-year old, soon to be 33-year old, All-Pro receiver.
So what is Andre Johnson waiting for exactly? The Texans have Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum, and Tom Savage at quarterback, with Fitzpatrick likely under center week one. Is that the problem? If so, is that going to change anytime soon?
I think it can. Over the draft weekend, rumors swirled about the Texans and New England Patriots QB Ryan Mallet. It’s easy to connect the dots. Bill O’Brien coached Mallet when O’Brien was with the Patriots. Mallet is stuck behind Tom Brady, and he isn’t leaving anytime soon. Mallet also has one year on his contract left, and will likely leave New England for a chance at a starting job next season.
Over the draft weekend, the potential trade became even more likely. The Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round, a young QB for Brady to mentor over the next few seasons, and a potential replacement for the future hall of famer. The Texans also waited until the fourth round to take their quarterback, Tom Savage. A trade seemed likely at that point.
But that wasn’t the case. A trade wasn’t made. Parties involved denied the rumors, and everyone moved on.
Not I, though. I still think we can see a trade between the two parties. Mallet won’t re-sign in New England and the Patriots know it. May as well get something for their backup or third string quarterback. O’Brien knows Mallett’s strengths and weaknesses, and Mallett already knows most of the playbook (at least I would assume), so missing a few OTA’s shouldn’t be such a big deal. A June or July trade is within the realms of possibility and would help both teams.
Would Johnson come back if Mallett was behind center? I can’t say for certain he would, but having a quarterback with upside would probably get him more excited than Fitzpatrick under center. Fitzpatrick is solid, but the Texans offense looks likely to depend on the running game. Johnson doesn’t want to block for 60% of the game and only get seven targets a game at his age.
Whether that would change with a different quarterback remains to be seen. Mallet is far from a proven quarterback, but if you’re asking me, I’d prefer to have Mallett throwing to me than Fitzpatrick.
For now, Johnson sits out. We don’t know for how long, but there’s no end in sight.