Thursday, May 22, 2014
GM, coach working on Andre Johnson
By Michael DiRocco
It appears that Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and coach Bill O'Brien are doing everything they can to convince wide receiver Andre Johnson to attend the team's mandatory minicamp and organized team activities.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Smith and O'Brien have been in contact with Johnson and are trying to ease his concerns. Rapoport also reported that Johnson's frustration with the Texans is not about the team's decision to not draft a quarterback until the fourth round but rather his concern about being part of another rebuild.
Johnson turns 33 on July 11 and is near the end of his career. The Texans' 2-14 record last season was due to more than just quarterback issues and it's going to take more than a season for the franchise to reach a level where it can compete with the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots in the AFC.
Drafting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick, guard Xavier Su'a-Filo in the second round, and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and defensive tackle Louis Nix in the third round certainly addressed some of the Texans' biggest needs. However, Smith and O'Brien didn't draft a quarterback until taking Tom Savage in the fourth round and instead are going to rely whichever player emerges from the group of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates.
That's certainly not good news for Johnson, who is 55 receptions and 1,116 yards shy of cracking the top 10 list in both categories in NFL history.
Johnson said last week that he wasn't sure if Houston is still the place for him -- although he did not ask for a trade -- and that he wasn't going to attend the Texan's OTAs and mandatory minicamp June 17-19. A trade is unlikely to happen anyway considering the Texans would have $11.96 million in dead money on the 2014 salary cap.