It was just not too long ago when the term “Big 3” was contrived in the sport world. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen all landed in Boston, forming the first “super team” of the modern era of basketball. A few years later, it happened again. LeBron James, the best basketball player on the planet was packing his bags in route to Miami to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Why? The Cavaliers simply failed over and over to put the right pieces in place to take a team with one star player to a TEAM with a star player. James wanted a ring, and in his prime, he felt like it was the right decision, to which after winning two with the Heat, turned out to be.
Now granted LeBron wasn’t considering retiring nor was he banged up like Lions WR Calvin Johnson is claiming, but there are parallels. The dis-functionality of the Detroit Lions organization, particularly the front office and management has already claimed the title of having the worst team of all time, with the 2008 Lions going a staggering and unprecedented 0-16. Some may argue it’s more difficult to go winless as an NFL team to go undefeated, to which prior to the 2008 season, had never been done, while an undefeated season had (1972 Miami Dolphins)
With so much terrible football another before and after that season, the Lions were able to secure top draft pics, drafting Mathew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Brandon Pettigrew, Mike Williams, Jahvid Best and Nick Fairly, amongst others. On top of that, adding talent like Reggie Bush and Golden Tate. One could make a case that the Lions have been one if not the most talented team in the NFL over parts of the past decade and have absolutely nada with it.
News of Calvin Johnson’s possible retirement was hinted at in January but broke Sunday with Johnson reportable you having told his family and Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell that he would not be playing football in 2015, leaning towards retirement and holding firm. His reasons? A banged up 6’5″ 237lb frame who has taken constant pounding after falling hard to the ground although a wide receiver is typically not a possibility where retire early, notably maybe the greatest of all time, Jerry Rice playing till age 40. Maybe are also wondering if the recent CTE talk could be a factor in swaying Johnson.
The Lions have been criticized by many for wasting two of the best talents the NFL’s has ever seen, in Johnson and Barry Sanders. Ridiculous stats, sure fire hall of fame careers, and no hardware to show for it, no gratification that all those stats and yards actually helped your team win a Super Bowl.
The NFL season is grueling, through training camps, mini camps, long road trips, and of-course the game itself, and one may ask, with all these factors added to one another, can you blame Johnson for walking away. The motivation to play for a parental loser can get old after 10 years.
If there’s an antithesis of a parental loser it’s the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick seems to know how to work magic with NFL veterans on the back end of their careers. Belichick and the Pats tried to give another seemingly washed-up vet another chance to help them win a ring in RB Steven Jackson.
If there’s one player you could compare Megatron with it’s Moss. Randy Moss. Moss played with the Patriots and showed simply just how much better he was than anyone else better on your defense, and having Tom Brady throwing you those passes doesn’t hurt. If Calvin Johnson wanted to chase a ring before having it up for good, Johnson could join the Patriots and try to chase one Lombardi trophy with Brady, looking to do the same.
Logistically, Johnson would fit perfectly into the Patriots offense. Thought Tom Brady is actually one of the worst deep-ball passers in the league, having a deep threat would force opposing defenses to play deeper. The Pats play a 5-5 offense with 5 staying back to block, and 5 downfield, centered on a short passing game utilizing rubs and crosses. Realizing this, defenses have come up to play the Patriots in the middle of the field, trying to crowd the area Brady likes to throw to, but having Megatron would force a defense to keep a safety back on his side almost 100% of the time. Edelman and Amendola (barring he is kept) could fill the short passing game, with Gronk filling the intermediate passing, and Johnson covering the intermediate to deep routes. Talk about unstoppable.
Johnson would owe the Lions around $3 million for a negated signing bonus clause if he decided to retire or demand a trade, which at this point is unlikely. Johnson is still under contract with the team.
Many NFL players have retired and opted to come back to the game, after simply becoming bored or having retirement remorse, *cough cough Brett Favre.* If Johnson were to retire and look to come back after a year, look for a team like the Patriots to target to WR. Attitude wise and play wise, he couldn’t be a more perfect fit in New England.