Andre Johnson is frustrated in Houston, in an offseason that saw the team trade away Matt Schaub and address the position with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and 4th round pick Tom Savage. At a charity event today, according to the Ultimate Texans blog, he asked “is this still the place for me?”
It is also noted that he missed the first workout with new head coach Bill O’Brien, and does not plan to attend OTAs and workouts. He has not demanded a trade as of yet, but according to the site, said we’ll see “what happens.”
One could understand Andre Johnson’s frustration. He turns 33 this year. He has been a star receiver, when he has stayed healthy, and just suffered through a horrible losing season where the talent was there, but the quarterback position was a disaster. Now, the team might turn to a 4th round rookie pick who created buzz but wasn’t great in college?
This does come at the start of a new regime. I’ll just point out that there were similar rumblings when the Scott Pioli/Todd Haley era began in Kansas City, and Tony Gonzalez, coming off a year when he caught passes from Tyler Thigpen, and Gonzalez was traded to Atlanta despite being a sports icon in Kansas City. How much could Johnson demand if he were on the trade block?
Here’s a list of guys like Andre Johnson who were the most productive as receivers from age 23 to 32. Guys like Torry Holt and Gary Clark switched teams and were pretty much done by age 33. Hall of Famer James Lofton moved to Buffalo at age 33, and became part of a dynamic offense for the Bills, with Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas, where he did not have to be the star. As a group, the ten retired guys most similar to Andre Johnson played 3 more years on average, and half made at least one more pro bowl. That would probably be worth something between a 2nd and 3rd round pick (No where near half of 2nd and 3rd round picks make a pro bowl, but they are cheaper).
Johnson would make sense for a team with a veteran “win now” core who was in need of a quality star wide receiver who could transition to a quality #2 option over the next three years. The usual suspects should be in play here from among the contenders.