Wide receiver Andre Johnson understands at 33-years old that there may not be much time left for him in the NFL. It's a realization not many players have and languishing on a rebuilding Houston Texans' roster isn't the best place for a veteran star. Publicly there's been no talk of trading the All Pro receiver, but behind closed doors reports are emerging that four teams have reached out to the Texans.
The Carolina Panthers made some solid moves to improve its wide receiver corps from "non-existent" to "woeful" over the last few months, but there's no denying that Johnson playing for the team is a dream and achieves multiple goals. It mitigates early pressure on Kelvin Benjamin to maturate and become the No.1 immediately, while offering a legitimate threat for Cam Newton in the down field passing game. This was the idea behind retaining Steve Smith, bridging the gap, but it became apparent that his production was slowing and Smith's demeanor meant keeping him on the team was untenable.
Cost is what could derail the discussion. The Panthers are currently just $5.5 million under the salary cap, while Johnson would cost roughly $4.5 million this season -- according to Over the Cap. Yes, it would mean throwing all the team's eggs in one basket, but it's a heck of a basket. There are no signs Johnson is slowing and even with a cadre of struggling quarterbacks he managed to finish with over 1,400 receiving yards in 2013.
The NFC South is quickly becoming a wide receiver arms race and one the Panthers are lagging sorely behind. Tampa Bay's young corps will take a few years to develop, but Carolina's three opponents in the division could all boast top duos in the near future. Basing your team's plans off your competition is never a good idea, but there's no doubting the offense could use the kind of life Andre Johnson would provide.
What do you think Panther nation? Should the team go all-in on Andre Johnson?