And Johnson, who said last week he would like to remain with the Lions beyond this season, can’t worry about it too much because as of now he has little say in the matter. Despite large salary and cap numbers looming for Johnson, it is unlikely he would not be with the Lions in 2016 -- especially if the team retains head coach Jim Caldwell -- but there is the possibility as he enters the offseason.
“It’s not in my control,” Johnson said after the Lions beat the Bears, 24-20, to end the season. “Only the things that I do are in my control. Whatever decisions they make, that’s up to them, you know what I’m saying.
“Just going to enjoy this downtime and go from there.”
Johnson finished the season with 88 receptions for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns. The 88 catches are his most since his record-setting 2012 season and his yards and touchdowns are his best since 2013.
He had two 100-yard games this season, both against the Bears. He has routinely crushed Chicago, now with four straight 100-yard games against the Bears and seven touchdowns in his past seven games against them.
“Obviously he controlled the tempo of the game in a number of different situations with some big catches,” Caldwell said. “Big catch there toward the end of the first half to give us the chance to kick the field goal. Close out the game with a reception for a first down.
“Just a tremendous job overall and the touchdown catch was a thing of beauty. It was like Calvin, you know, ball out in front of him, went to go get it, laid out to get it and took it in. Just a lot of great things. He was tremendous all the way around.”
Johnson said he doesn’t really have anything to contemplate about his future, “just wait and see.” He is under contract for the next four seasons in Detroit and the only real reason his status with the club is in question is because of his salary and cap numbers.
He will have a $24 million cap hit with a $15.95 million cash value in 2016 and the team could save $11.1 million on the cap by letting him go. There is a lot both Johnson and the team could do to make sure he remains with the Lions at a potentially reduced number, from asking him to take a pay cut to restructuring his contract.
Or, with the cap set to increase, the Lions could keep his $24 million hit on the books in 2016 and push the decision down the road until 2017, when he would be due to have a cap hit of $21.357 million and would theoretically offer more cap savings.
Johnson, though, said he thinks the Lions are “real close” to being a consistent winner. He pointed to the improved play of the offensive line, the receivers and the defense and said quarterback Matthew Stafford is “playing great.”
He acknowledged, though, that he doesn’t know what his future will hold and whether the touchdown he scored in the second half Sunday against Chicago will be his last one as a Lions player.
“You never know, man,” Johnson said. “If it is, though, you want to go out like that, you know, [with] wins. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make the playoffs or anything like that, but have a great team effort, not just this game but this whole second half of the season, it was a good one, good deal.”