Andre Johnson, the greatest receiver in Texans history and the longtime face of the franchise, may be somewhere else next year. He'll turn 34 during camp, and after a disappointing season, it'd be hard to justify the $16.1 million cap hit he'll carry.
He wants to stay (he's said he'd like to play out his current contract, which runs through 2016, then retire a Texan), Houston wants him to stay, but it doesn't make financial sense. Everyone knows the Texans will ask him to take a pay cut, and while Johnson says he understands why, he hasn't said whether he'd be amenable.
His uncle has, though! Earlier this week, Andre Melton, who's also Johnson's mentor and advisor, told the Chronicle, "we understand it's a business and we're willing to deal with that. And Andre doesn't mind having a pay cut." That's news to Johnson.
"Who said that?" Johnson replied. I told him his uncle did.
"Really?" Johnson said. "I don't know where that came from. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."
"I don't know where that story came from," Johnson said. "It wasn't... did it say that I said it? I can't speak for nobody else. I only can speak for what I say. I didn't make that statement."
Johnson has held out twice in the last five years, so this one should play out down to the wire in camp. But in all, Johnson and the Texans have always had a mature and businesslike approach to their relationship; whatever happens, don't expect that to change.