So why are the Texans playing hardball with Andre Johnson?
If the Texans could have brought receiver Andre Johnson back into the fold by simply giving him a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus he had forfeited by skipping the early phases of the offseason program, why didn’t they?
Before delving into the question, consider this. It’s true and accurate, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, that Johnson offered to show up for OTAs and minicamp in exchange for a way to earn back the $1 million roster bonus -- and that the Texans said thanks and no. Johnson’s olive branch came after he took some time to get to know the knew coaching staff, and after he concluded that the franchise hasn’t plunged into a full-blown rebuilding process. Johnson was ready to show up and get to work, with his only request being that the organization give him a way to earn the money that hinged on his full participation in the offseason program.
That was it. That’s all he wanted. And the Texans said no.
For now, the fracture has become a full-blown schism. After the team refused to give him a way to earn back the money, Johnson became committed to the idea of playing elsewhere.
So why didn’t the Texans simply let Johnson save a little face and in turn a lot of money? If there’s a rational explanation, the explanation has yet to make its way into the eyes and ears of the media. While it shows the other players on the team that contracts will be honored as written, it undermines, and potentially poisons, the relationship with Johnson.
Maybe he eventually decides to not lose any additional money, and to show up and happily cash $10 million in game checks. Maybe, by Johnson asking for the $1 million back, the Texans have gambled on Johnson not giving up $30,000 per day in fines for skipping training camp and, ultimately, more than $588,000 per week for missing games as of September.
Or maybe the Texans have decided that they don’t want Johnson -- and they’ve opted to take a hard line on the $1 million so that they’ll be able to unload via trade his $10 million salary.
Keep this in mind: Whoever leaked news of the $1 million bonus also leaked that four teams are interested in trading for Johnson. Which means that the leak probably came from someone who wants to see Johnson traded.
Usually, that points to the player and/or his agent. In this case, there’s a chance that the Texans have decided that they don’t want to pay $10 million to a 33-year-old receiver, and that now is the best time to turn the asset into something of value.