Wood: Lions’ Johnson remains undecided about future
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson still has not decided whether he’ll play in 2016, team president Rod Wood said on Thursday.
Wood did an in-studio interview with the Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC-FM), and naturally, the hour-long discussion started with questions about Johnson.
“Calvin has not made a decision,” Wood said. “We’re going to give him time to still think about what he wants to do. If he wants to come back, we would obviously love to have him back, and if he decides to retire, we’re going to support that decision, too.”
Wood said later in the interview that he has no sense of which way Johnson is leaning. Johnson, 30, is considering retirement due largely to long-term health concerns.
Wood said he spoke with Johnson on Monday and that general manager Bob Quinn has spoken with him, too. Wood and Johnson have been in contact regularly since the 2015 season ended, but Quinn hadn’t spoken with him as of two weeks ago.
“It’s still in Calvin’s camp to make a decision,” Wood said.
For now, Wood said there’s no deadline for Johnson to make a decision, though knowing Johnson’s plans could alter how the Lions approach free agency, which begins March 9, and the draft in April.
“It’d be nice to know what we’re going to do, but it’s not something that we’re going to force on him to make a decision prior to free agency,” Wood said.
Johnson is due $16 million in base salary in 2016, but has a $24 million salary cap hit. If he retires, the Lions would save about $11 million in cap space next season and could recoup another $3.2 million of his signing bonus, though that money likely wouldn’t count on the salary cap until 2017.
“I’m not going to try and talk him in — or anybody else with the team — try to talk him into a decision,” Wood said. “He needs to decide what’s right for him and his future and his body and the rest of his career. And I think the worst thing that we could do is try and put pressure on him, and we’re not doing that.”