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Andre Johnson Unhappy in Houston; Patriots a Possible Fit?

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Will New England target the unhappy Texans receiver?

Bob Levey

In the days following the NFL Draft, reports began to surface that Andre Johnson is no longer happy on the Houston Texans. Johnson, 32 has spent his entire 11 year career in Houston, where he has been an absolute stud for them almost every year. However, despite Johnson's individual success, the Texans as a franchise have been less than stellar. Johnson has only been to the playoffs twice in his career, is frustrated with the direction the team is taking, and is now openly questioning his place in their long-term plans. Johnson has yet to request a trade, but that doesn't mean that one couldn't potentially be on the table.

Which, of course, begs the question: could he be a fit for the Patriots?

At first glance, the answer to that question is a resounding YES. Johnson isn't what he used to be, but he's still a top tier talent, red-zone threat, and phenomenal physical presence that would instantly provide a boost in ability and veteran leadership to a very young receiving corps. Furthermore, Johnson has never had a QB with Tommy B's skills, and yet he still managed to produce. I think Johnson would thrive in the Patriots system and give the team at least two years of solid production. Plus, with numerous reports saying that the Texans and Patriots still have plenty of mutual interest in facilitating a trade that involves Ryan Mallett, I can imagine certain scenarios where Johnson goes to New England in exchange for Mallett and a draft pick or two.

But more realistically - will it happen?

To be honest, I very, very much doubt it. Although a Johnson/Mallett trade would make sense on paper, as both teams would be filling a need, moving Andre Johnson is going to be very hard to do from a financial standpoint. Johnson carries with him a monster cap hit, and he still has over $34 million left on his contract, which runs through 2016. Furthermore, trading him would leave over $11 million in dead cap space on the Houston books; combine that with the receiver turning 33 before the start of the season, I just don't see it happening. I'm sure the Patriots would be interested in the player, but I can't really see that interest trumping the financial commitment it would take to get Johnson in a Patriots uniform.

Perhaps if Johnson really, really wants out, to the point where he's willing to completely redo his contract, there could be some scenarios where the move makes sense. However, since a trade isn't even being circulated around the rumor mill, all we can do is speculate. I'd love to see it, personally, as I'm a big proponent of talented receivers deserving talented quarterbacks, but I won't be holding my breath.