Andre Johnson And Houston Texans Should Not Have To Part Ways


March 2nd, 2015: the day a little part of me died. I’ll get to what this means on the football side of things in a bit, but for a little while I want to be a fan.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m only 17-years old, and I’ve been a diehard Texans fan my whole life. My dad bought season tickets the second he heard football was returning to Houston, and in thirteen years we’ve missed two games. Both were extraneous circumstances, as four-year old me had to see Thomas the Tank Engine back in the inaugural season and my grandmother wouldn’t let us skip Christmas Eve to go to a game a few seasons later. That Christmas Eve ended up being the Texans first ever win over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (thanks, Grandma).

Anyways, back to the story that matters. Andre Johnson has been, and always will be, my favorite Texan. He was a class act. He put up with scrubs like David Carr, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum. He was a great teammate, almost never sounding off until the season-that-shall-not-be-named. And most importantly he was one helluva player, putting up eye-popping stats even though he had the aforementioned flubs feeding him the football.

I hope Andre Johnson signs with a Super Bowl contender that plays against the Texans and just absolutely embarrasses them and goes and laughs in the faces of whoever in the Texans organization believes he’s not worthy of being here anymore. Now, on to why this move doesn’t even make sense in the first place.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Texans already had issues at the wide receiver position. While Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins were solid, Damaris Johnson couldn’t catch a cold, Keshawn Martin looks perpetually lost on a football field, and DeVier Posey was a frequent inhabitant of the inactive list on gameday. That’s why I had the Texans taking Phillip Dorsett in my mock draft, because it was a train wreck after those two and now it’s even worse.

In my opinion, Andre Johnson is still an elite NFL receiver. All the proof is in his performance, actually. Dre infamously skipped voluntary workouts, which was months that he could’ve had to work on getting a rapport with new Texans quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Instead, Fitzpatrick was developing a rapport with DeAndre Hopkins, in which he, not coincidentally, had a breakout year.

Dec 21, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Just skipping voluntary camp couldn’t have been enough to set him back that much, right? Well, if you don’t recall, Andre injured his hamstring the second practice of training camp, in which Fitzpatrick had even more time to stay on the same page as Hopkins, but not Johnson. Johnson proceeded to either not play at all, or play sparingly in all of the Texans preseason games.

Along came the regular season, Hopkins dominated while Johnson plodded along, and people were saying that the “passing of the torch” had finally arrived. After a three-week debacle, Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of Ryan Mallett. What were the results? Andre’s best game of the year to that point. He had seven receptions on just nine targets, and Mallett looked for him often.

We all know that Mallett injured his pectoral and Fitzpatrick returned to the dismay of many. In one of Fitzpatrick’s two weeks back before his eventual injury, DeAndre Hopkins had the game of a lifetime, catching nine passes on nine targets for 238-yards and two touchdowns.

Fitzpatrick injured his leg, which led to the return of Houston hero, Case Keenum. If there’s anything good to remember about the 2-14 disaster, it was the beauty that was Andre Johnson and Case Keenum working harmoniously. Andre Johnson’s stats when he finally had a quarterback he had a REAL connection with? 16 catches, 199-yards, and one touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins stats in that two week span? seven catches, 43-yards. Did anyone think that maybe Andre and Fitzy just didn’t play nice in the sandbox?

Now that we’ve gone over the idiocy of releasing Andre Johnson, here’s what they can do to fix it:

The one bright side of letting Andre Johnson go is the $9M in cap space that will eventually come their way (which they could’ve gotten just as easily by releasing Jonathan Joseph, who’s not the greatest player in franchise history, but what’s done is done). In my opinion, receiver becomes a necessity with the 16th overall pick; I’ll drop a name I really like for them later.

Since receiver becomes need 1A, a first-round selection of someone at that position makes a selection of Phillip Dorsett in round two unlikely, because nobody wants to rely on two rookie wideouts for production. That’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Danny Amendola, Mike Wallace, and Wes Welker are a few names that have been speculated as possible cap casualties.

Now both Amendola and Welker have health concerns, as they’re both a concussion away from joining NFL Network instead of an NFL roster. Wallace intrigues me, as he was actually productive last year. I don’t understand the Dolphins’ thought process behind handing him his walking papers. He’s still a lightning fast human being that can stretch the middle of the field out of the slot. I can just imagine Wallace sprinting behind the defense as Mallett gives him a seventy-yard rocket. Wallace could have an impact for the Texans in a similar way to that of T.Y. Hilton‘s with the Colts.

So the Texans will cut the best player in franchise history and may sign someone like Amendola or Wallace to fill a need they already had (slot WR) before the Texans handed Johnson his pink slip, but the Texans will still need to replace the best player in Texans franchise history.

More from Houston Texans

I really like Jaelen Strong, the receiver out of Arizona State, for the Texans. Draft pundits are sleeping on Strong in my opinion, and it’s very possible that we’ll be talking about Strong as the second best receiver out of this stacked draft class. Strong catches the back shoulder fade like no other football player I’ve ever seen. The obvious comparison for that would be Jordy Nelson, but Strong is better than Nelson at executing that play in my opinion. I’m not going to toot Strong’s horn any longer, just watch his college highlight tape here.

In my opinion, the Texans screwed up in this situation. Andre should still be a member of the Texans, but what’s happened has happened. It stinks.

Goodbye, AJ.

Next: Andre Johnson Given Permission To Seek Trade