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I know, I know, blasphemous to dissent against getting that big down field threat right? To be honest, I'm not, because Andre Johnson is not the down field threat he is being made out to be.
Johnson's track record is absolutely undeniable with 7 seasons over a thousand yards (with 4 over 1,400) and 61 career touchdowns. A nose for the sticks makes Johnson truly special, as 65.8% of the time he catches the ball it results in a first down. While this track record is incredible, trading for a player on past performance is like watching a new Adam Sandler movie because Happy Gilmore was funny, you're in for a lot of regret.
Now I know where the counter argument will go, right to the Randy Moss deal in 2007. To be fair, I called friends and family heralding that deal when it went down, so I should admit my hypocrisy right? wrong. Randy Moss was 30 the day that trade took place, and made 9 catches for 139 yards for the Patriots after his 33rd birthday. In fact, after Moss turned 33, he played 32 games (2010 season and 2012 season) with only 827 yards and 56 catches. Incredible regression, and exactly my concern with this deal.
So why am I so afraid of Johnson? To start, his yards per catch (12.9) was his lowest since 2006 (11.1). Now, I understand that the QB position for the Texans was a mess, but that leads me to my next troubling fact. While we'd assume that the shorter routes would be higher percentage completions, he only caught 60.2% of balls intended for him last year, which was the second lowest of his career. Only 2009 was lower, but that was also the season he had his HIGHEST yards per catch at 15.5. It makes sense for one percentage to drop as yards per catch go up, but it's troubling when both plummet to near career lows.
To be fair, if the price was lower, I'd be happy to bring him on board. We would be paying him more money than Moss, giving up more capital than we did for Moss, and likely would lose some depth at other positions because of our cap situation. Is that worth it for a player three years older and showing signs of decline? I wouldn't touch that deal with a ten foot pole. I'm not saying anything above spells doom for Johnson's career, it just makes acquiring him too large a risk.
Stats via ESPN for Johnson and Moss