The Truth About Calvin Johnson and the Oakland Raiders

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 22: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions and Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders walk off the field together after the game at Ford Field on November 22, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Raiders 18-13. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
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Earlier this off-season, retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson did some guest-coaching for the Oakland Raiders. This started a ton of rumors. After all, the Raiders had just lured Marshawn Lynch out of retirement, and Megatron in silver and black is an intoxicating idea. Adding Johnson to an offense that already features Derek Carr, Lynch, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Jared Cook? Behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines? Insane. However, here’s the sad truth.

The Truth About Calvin Johnson and the Oakland Raiders

All of these rumors were turned up a notch when Calvin Johnson began to trash his former team. He said he didn’t think the team would ever win a Super Bowl and that it was driving him insane. The Raider Nation went crazy when Johnson praised quarterback Derek Carr, saying he’d love to play with him. These things fired up the Raider Nation and made them wonder if Reggie McKenzie couldn’t pull a Marshawn Lynch, luring him out of retirement.


The first problem here is that Calvin Johnson said he retired because his body was breaking down. A young, healthy Megatron is one thing, but if he’s a shell of his former self, he’s more harm than good. Especially because he won’t come easy, or likely even cheap.

In order for Calvin Johnson to end up on the Oakland Raiders, a ton of crazy things would have to happen. First of all, he’d have to come out of retirement. As of writing this, neither the Raiders or Detroit Lions have acknowledged Johnson’s comments. In fact, even Calvin Johnson himself as said that he’s definitely retired.

Johnson would have to decide he’s coming out of retirement, at which point he’d become a member of the Detroit Lions again. After his comments about the team, it’s unlikely that this is where he wants to be. In fact, after his comments, it’s unlikely they’re crazy about giving him what he wants in a trade as well.


Of course, there’s always the idea that Calvin Johnson could come out of retirement and force his contract onto Detroit, making them trade or release him. It’s true that they couldn’t afford him, but that it’s not like this would make Johnson very popular in the Detroit front office. Which leads to the next problem.

Trade and Cap

Let’s just pretend that the Detroit Lions were sick of Calvin Johnson, and they decided to trade him. Who is to say that they’d trade Johnson where he wants to be traded? They don’t owe him anything in their eyes, so they could send him to Cleveland if they really wanted. Frankly, who is to say the New England Patriots wouldn’t offer more? It’s not like Calvin Johnson can say “I’ll only come out of retirement if you trade me to the Raiders”, if it was, they would just say no.

So assuming that Johnson came out of retirement, and the Lions agreed to trade him to Oakland, what would he come for? It’s unlikely that the Lions would be as reasonable as the Seattle Seahawks were with Lynch, as they probably feel a bit scorned. Reggie McKenzie loves his draft picks, and likely wouldn’t give up a valuable pick for JOhnson.

We don’t really have to go any further down the rabbit hole, but just to make a point, he wouldn’t come for free. Even if he, perfectly healthy, came out of retirement, and the Lions agreed to send him to Oakland for a cheap pick, he would come with his contract.

Calvin’s Contract

There’s still roughly $12,000,000 of dead cap attached to Calvin Johnson, and the Raiders would have to eat it. While it’s true that the Raiders do have enough money to eat Johnson’s cap, they’d be strapped for cash. There are still several unsigned rookies, as well as any linebacker help the team might want to add later this off-season.

There’s just so much to has to happen for this deal to become real. It could, but a seemingly impossible number of things would have to happen. However, one Raider rusher seems to think that maybe… just maybe, lightning could strike twice.


  1. I would explore the possibility of bringing Calvin Johnson to Oakland. The raiders are at the cusp of winning a championship. Calvin Johnson would enhance their chances immensely. The Lions are not quite ready to challenge the Packers, therefore the draft pick the raiders could offer may benefit them along with the drama of the Calvin Johnson situation resolved by allowing there second best lion to feel better about the organization. Reference Barry Sanders feelings. This could be a win win for both organizations as the raiders can finally remove the stain of the Jamarcus Russell fiasco if they can win or get to the Superbowl. Raiders fan for life Kevin. Go Raiders. Respond and let me know your feelings to my post.


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