Andre Johnson the Patriot?

Could Tom Brady be throwing to Johnson next year?
In a slight twist Monday night, it was reported by John McClain that the Houston Texans gave Andre Johnson permission to seek a trade, and if no trade is agreed upon he will become a free agent.

This has sparked interest of fans across the country, knowing that the Pro-Bowl WR may have a chance to land on their team. After a day where the Patriots decided to roll the dice and use their franchise tag on Stephen Gostowski instead of Devin McCourty, Patriots fans needed this type of optimism. So Johnson wants to play for a winner, can the Patriots be that team?

Why would the Texans be so willing to part with one of the staples of their organization? Money, not to put too fine a point on it. Johnson will earn $11.5 million if he is on the roster this season ($10.5M base salary, $1M roster bonus). At the age of 33, and with DeAndre Hopkins stepping up last year, the Texans are ready to move on, one way or another.

Will there be a trade market for him, despite his cap numbers? Highly unlikely. He is on the books for the next two years for a combined cap hit of $30 million (if he plays under his current contract), with dead money numbers as $7.3 million and $2.7 million respectively for those years. Unless a team has the desire to take that sort of risk, it is likely to be a mute market for the veteran wide receiver.

Johnson has seemingly already made his peace with leaving the Texans. Shortly after news broke, Johnson took to Instagram to say goodbye to the team and their fans in a video.

So where do the Patriots fit in? Well Johnson has been quite outspoken over the last two years about wanting to play for a winning team, which the Texans have never really been. So going to a team like the Patriots seems like a natural fit: great QB, great coach, great offense, and a Super Bowl champion with sights set on a repeat. Would the Patriots be interested? Well back in 2012 Belichick raved about Johnson before a critical Monday night game against the Texans, essentially saying he can do just about anything on the field. If Belichick goes into that much detail about a player, it is safe to say he is being honest and respects the player.

Andre Johnson is a big target(6'3" 230 lbs), who has just enough juice left to make plays. With 85 receptions and nearly 1000 yards last season, he can still produce when needing to, and that was from an unmotivated, uninspired Johnson who didn't want to play for the team he was on. With Aaron Dobson still as an unknown, and LaFell able to handle the majority of the X wide receiver snaps, Johnson could fit in as an off the bench contributor who would also be a good locker room presence, and possible mentor for Dobson.

The biggest issue is, and always will be, the money. Should Johnson desire winning and success more so than money, the stars could align. There is a lot that would need to happen between now and then, but it is hard to not delve into this possibility from the Patriots perspective. If Johnson is willing to play for under $4 million for a year or two in order to finally get his shot at winning a Super Bowl, why not give him a shot in New England?

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