Andre Johnson Is Not Walking Through That Door
Uncle Leo of Seinfeld fame was a cordial fellow ("HEELLOOOOOO!!"). Uncle Junior Soprano, while he increased Tony's general stress level, was always a guy who made things happen. And I've always found there to be a certain animal magnetism about Uncle Fester of The Addams Family.
If I had to rank them in order, that might be my "uncle trifecta" -- Leo, one. Junior, two. Fester, three.
And Andre Johnson's uncle, Andre Melton? He would be around 5,716,674th.
It's not personal, I'm sure Melton is a fine fella. It's just that the general rule of thumb is that if we are hearing Melton's name in relation to anything, it's probably bad news for Texans fans. And it just so happens we are hearing Melton's name again this week, and lo and behold, look at the news:
Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson won't attend the Texans' mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday, his adviser and uncle Andre Melton said Monday.
While Johnson's absence was expected, Melton's comments confirmed the seven-time Pro Bowler remains at odds with the Texans and there's no immediate end in sight to the stalemate.
"Right now, that's all that he can do," Melton said. "We've done what we can do, so we're just sitting there waiting."
Ok, once you're done smashing yourself in the face with a hammer, let's examine this and see if we can make any sense of it. "We've done what we can do." What does that even mean? They've laid down conditions that would prompt Andre Johnson's return to camp? They've given them a list of teams to which Johnson would accept a deal? They've sent Bill O'Brien multiple fruit baskets?
What exactly has Camp Johnson done? And is there anything O'Brien, for his part, could do to get the 11-year perennial Pro Bowler into camp?
"Andre and Bill have a great relationship. That's just what it is," Melton said. "After that, it's just a wait-and-see deal."
Ah, ok. Clear as mud. Thanks, Meltsy.
With mandatory minicamp starting this week, the word "voluntary" is officially out the window, and it's going to begin costing Andre Johnson real money to stay away -- specifically, he can be fined during each day of his absence, $11,575 Tuesday, $23,150 Wednesday and $34,730 Thursday for a total of $69,455. The big money is Johnson's workout bonus that he also stands to lose, $1 million, to be exact.
Meanwhile, the staring contest between Johnson and the team continues:
With training camp starting at the end of July, Melton said Johnson is holding off making a decision about his attendance and has yet to determine whether he'll officially hold out.
"We'll evaluate it in a month or so and see what's going on," Melton said.
Johnson, 32, is the Texans' highest-paid player this season. He's set to make a base salary of $10 million with a salary-cap figure of $15.6 million. The highly respected receiver, who'll turn 33 on July 11, is under contract through 2016, potentially earning a combined $31.5 million in base salary the next three seasons.
"Nobody's been here as long as I have. You just kind of look at things; I've been thinking about things this offseason," Johnson said then. "And I just kind of wonder sometimes, 'Is this still the place for me?' "
Should Johnson rejoin the Texans, he's expected to catch passes from veteran journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. A reconfigured offense, guided by quarterbacks coach George Godsey and O'Brien, will rely on dual-threat running back Arian Foster, while limiting Fitzpatrick's in-the-moment decision making in the hope of limiting turnovers. Second-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is the Texans' main passing option without Johnson.
Here's the thing -- if the problem is money, the Texans just forking more money over to their already highest paid player because he's being pissy would set a terrible precedent, especially on a team that is probably going to top out at eight wins, max. If the problem is the quarterback position, then the earliest that gets resolved to anyone's satisfaction (i.e. the Texans have "their guy" for the future) is at least another year from now, maybe longer.
In other words, after riding with David Carr and Matt Schaub his whole career, Andre Johnson's quarterback situation has somehow managed to go backwards in 2014.
Ok, everyone go ahead and take their shot of whiskey together.
Andre, we all feel your pain. Now, the five figure fines and loss of a million bucks in bonuses. You're on your own there, fella. I have no idea how that feels (but I'd love to give it a try).
I just wish your uncle would stop talking.