Calvin Johnson: Is Megatron trying to pull a Brett Favre?
By Dan Zinski
Calvin Johnson supposedly wants to retire but what if he’s just trying to force his way out of Detroit so he can play somewhere else?
Once upon a time there was a quarterback named Brett Favre who no longer wanted to play for one team so he maneuvered that team into trading him.
The team Favre was traded to was not the team he really wanted to play for but it didn’t matter because after one year he was cut and then he went to the team he really wanted to play for.
And when Favre joined the team he really wanted to play for he helped that team beat his original team twice, thereby “sticking it” to that team.
Fast forward to 2016 and it appears a similar situation may be playing out between another team and one of its legendary players.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson reportedly has retired from the NFL, but as we learned from the Favre saga, just because you say you’re retired that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re retired.
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So, what if Calvin Johnson isn’t really truly retired but is just trying to force the Lions to cut him so he can go play somewhere else? What if Calvin Johnson is in fact pulling a Favre? The rumor from the combine (via Pro Football Talk):
"Some believe receiver Calvin Johnson is dragging his feet with the Lions so that the Lions will cut him.The thinking is that Johnson didn’t calculate the move, and that at this point he genuinely does not want to play. But, as the theory goes, Johnson has realized while taking time to mull things over that, if he’s going to retire, it’s better to retire not as a Lion but as a free agent."
It’s not exactly a Favre because it’s not calculated, but if Johnson ends up leaving Detroit and signing somewhere else in 2016, the end result is the same as if it were a true Favre.
And what if you’re the Lions? The last thing you want is to cut Calvin Johnson and let him sign with the Packers or Vikings. The Packers faced a similar dilemma with Brett Favre and solved it by trading him to the Jets, keeping him away from the Vikings for one year at least.
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Could the Lions end up trying to trade Calvin Johnson out of the division, assuming Johnson actually wants to play somewhere in 2016? I don’t know if that trade is do-able or not. Certainly Johnson, who is owed $26 million for 2016, would have to negotiate a new contract with whatever team picked him up.
The nuances of this situation are certainly different than those of the Favre situation. But the broad outlines of the story are very similar. Legendary player wants out of town, says he’s retiring, might not really mean it.
When Favre pulled this crap on the Packers, the Vikings ended up benefiting by getting Favre when he still had enough left in the tank to lead them on a deep playoff run (though Favre failed to deliver the ultimate prize).
The chances of lightning striking twice are very remote though. So don’t expect the Vikings to somehow end up with Calvin Johnson. I mean there’s no way that could actually happen.