Updates from Tuesday, July 22
Andre Johnson skipped all of the Texans' spring practices but according to a source with knowledge of the situation, it is looking more likely Johnson will join the team for training camp.
Tania Ganguli of ESPN NFL Nation reported on Johnson's presence at the Texans' facility
Good sign for the #Texans: receiver Andre Johnson was at NRG Stadium yesterday, sources said.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 22, 2014
Johnson's visit was absolutely meaningful, though I can see why those close to him would want to downplay that. #Texans— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 22, 2014
Ganguli later reported more on Johnson's arrival:
The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver arrived at the Texans' facility to learn the team's new offense on Monday, sources told ESPN.com.
It's unclear whether or not Johnson will report to training camp with the rest of the veterans on Friday, but his appearance at the facility was certainly a positive development.
Rookies and injured players were required to report on Monday. The first practice of training camp will be Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport added to Ganguili's report:
Pro Football Talk clarifies the limitations of Johnson's participation:
Under CBA, Andre Johnson currently can be in the building for limited purposes. He can't be meeting with coaches to learn playbook.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) July 22, 2014
The Houston Texans had a disastrous 2013 season. The 2014 campaign isn't looking very promising, either, with star wide receiver Andre Johnson pondering his future.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the seven-time Pro Bowler is weighing up whether or not to try and force a move to another team. He'd be willing to restructure his deal to make a trade happen:
Four teams have expressed interest in trading for #Texans WR Andre Johnson, who is working out now “not thinking of the Texans,” source said— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 10, 2014
On Andre Johnson: Source tells me he would restructure his contract to help a potential new team get under the salary cap. Not a pay cut tho— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 11, 2014
The bone of contention is a $1 million roster bonus that Johnson missed out on. Houston apparently refused him a chance to get that money back in another way:
#Texans Andre Johnson’s absence involves standoff over $1M bonus per source. Johnson wanted to earn it back after missing time. Team said no— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 10, 2014
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle made the case that much of this was just posturing, and the veteran wideout won't be going anywhere:
When season begins and big checks come in, Johnson makes $588,000 and change a week. He's 33 today. Happy Birthday Andre!— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 11, 2014
When Johnson finally reports, it'll be bidness as usual. He'll be a pro. This dispute will be put behind him, and he'll excel.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 11, 2014
You can understand why Johnson might want to be anywhere but Houston after last year's debacle. However, the beauty of the NFL is that a team can go from awful one year to Super Bowl contender the next. Parity is rife throughout the league.
The Texans weren't the worst team in the league talent-wise last year. Sometimes, teams simply have rotten luck and bad results that continue to snowball. The Atlanta Falcons were in much the same situation.
Houston doesn't necessarily have to rebuild. Matt Schaub is gone. Arian Foster's healthy. Louis Nix and Jadeveon Clowney improve the defensive front seven. Some problems remain, but the Texans could easily go from 2-14 to 9-7 or 10-6, and that could be good enough to get into the playoffs.
Johnson might not be happy now, but he'll be even more upset if those game checks stop coming after Week 1. Things look bad now, but expect the 33-year-old to be in a Texans uniform for 2014.