An Insider piece now posted on ESPN.com highlights the "best fits" for veteran receiver Andre Johnson, who has reportedly been given permission to seek a trade by the Texans, and it's not surprising that the New England Patriots are high on the list.
A few thoughts:
Starts with the salary. Before even considering trade compensation, Johnson's salary would likely have to be addressed before the Patriots broached the possibility of acquiring him. As the Insider piece notes, Johnson has two years and $21.5 million remaining on the $67.8 million contract he signed back in 2010 and it's hard to imagine the Patriots absorbing that deal. One estimate on how far the Patriots would extend is to the Julian Edelman-type range of $4.75 million average per year. That figure was picked because the Patriots are generally cognizant of paying a big contract to a player from another team in terms of how it might affect others already on the club. Would that be good enough for Johnson? Perhaps it would from the perspective of giving him a chance to play with Tom Brady and have arguably his best chance to win a Super Bowl.
Would Houston trade with New England? With the Texans competing in the AFC, and also facing the Patriots in 2015, one would think they'd prefer to trade him out of the conference. In that sense, it might be difficult for the Patriots to consummate a deal. But if there is no trade market, and Johnson is ultimately released and free to sign with any team, that obviously would alter the picture. (Johnson wouldn't be as high of a priority as retaining players such as Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, but it's still intriguing.)
Still has something to offer. While every snap that Johnson played last season has not been watched at this address, there was enough viewing to come to the conclusion that the soon-to-be 34-year-old (birthday July 11) still can be a difference-maker at times. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Johnson would obviously be a nice addition to the core of Edelman (5-10, 200), Brandon LaFell (6-3, 210) and Danny Amendola (5-11, 195). With Brady throwing him the football, Johnson would naturally make the Patriots that much tougher to defend. A mid-round draft pick for Johnson, assuming he would accept a reduced contract, would be a coup for New England.