Lions general manager Bob Quinn said he has spoken with Johnson, and though he didn’t want to divulge the conversation, he said Johnson did not give him an indication of what he plans on doing.
"Giving him time to make that decision," Quinn said.
Quinn said the franchise has not discussed what the team will do with his contract -- $24 million against the cap including $15.95 million in cash -- if Johnson opts to return for 2016. He acknowledged, though, that if Johnson doesn’t make a decision by the start of the new league year on March 9, it will alter what the franchise does in free agency.
The difference would be multifaceted. From a financial standpoint, it is a difference of $11.1 million freed up if Johnson hangs it up. From a personnel standpoint, Johnson’s retirement would likely create an even more pressing need at receiver considering Detroit’s receivers other than Johnson from last year’s 53-man roster are Golden Tate, TJ Jones and Corey Fuller.
"It obviously affects it because of the salary that he has," Quinn said. "So that’s something that’s going to take into effect what kind of plans that we can do, how flexible we can be with the type of players that we’re going to look forward to add in free agency.
"That’s all part of the puzzle. My job is to put that puzzle together."
Considering the importance of that piece, why not put a deadline on Johnson -- after all, deadlines often spur faster action.
"That’s just the decision we made internally, to not put a deadline on Calvin," Quinn said. "So that’s something we’ve talked about, myself, coach Caldwell, Rod Wood.
"Just the way we’re going to go about business in terms of what Calvin’s decision may or may not be."
Johnson has 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns in his career. He’s coming off an 88-catch, 1,214-yard, nine-touchdown season.