News & Info/Headlines
As fantasy football owners who rolled the dice on Johnson upon his move from Houston to Indy know all too well, Johnson, 34, struggled to make an impact in his first season with the Colts after 12 seasons with the Texans.
Having established himself as the greatest player in Texans history, Johnson made only a ripple in Indianapolis, recording 41 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns.
According to Indianapolis Star staffer Stephen Holder, Johnson’s release is partly a financial decision. He was scheduled to make an estimated $7.5 million if he played with the Colts in 2016, including a $2.5 million roster bonus. By releasing Johnson, the Colts realize a salary-cap savings of $5 million that can be used to add other free agents or to put toward quarterback Andrew Luck’s expected monster contract extension.
As Profootballtalk.com suggested this morning, Johnson doesn’t appear to have much left. But a person close to Johnson told Holder Johnson hopes to continue playing elsewhere. He’s hitting the market a few days before the actual start of the free-agent signing period, which helps.
Indeed, agent Kennard McGuire says that Johnson is "training and preparing for next season."
Johnson’s contributions last season weren’t meaningless. But they certainly weren’t congruent with his big salary, one he signed after the Colts out-bid other suitors last spring. Depending on his salary expectations, there could be interest.
If Johnson does decide to call it a career, he finishes with 1,053 catches, eighth in NFL history, and 14,100 receiving yards, ninth in NFL history.
Johnson's departure will leave the team with a much more youthful group at the top of the depth chart with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett the most likely top-3 heading into OTAs. ...
Meanwhile, in case you missed it. ... Matt Hasselbeck's time with the Colts is also over. Hasselbeck will become an unrestricted free agent on March 9.
The 40-year-old veteran, who served as the backup to Andrew Luck for the past three seasons, made no indication that he intends to retire.
Hasselbeck, who was informed he would be allowed to move on last week, wrote on Twitter: "Amazing experience w/ Colts. My family & I are grateful to you Indianapolis. Many great friends, you will be missed!"
Last season, Hasselbeck posted a 5-3 record as a starter while Luck was hurt. He completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,690 yards with nine touchdown passes and five interceptions for an 84.0 passer rating.
According to NFL Network's Michael Silver, the plan is for Josh Freeman to be Luck's backup in 2016.